I'm trying to copy and paste text from a cell. I want the cell to read + events. I need to add a quote so that it's not interpreted as an incorrect formula, so the cell is '+ events and reads + events.

But when I copy and paste the text '+ eventsCmd, the single quote ' is not masked, so the cell is '+ events but still reads '+ events.

  • Why does it behave like that, and what can I do about it? I could copy the cells itself but I would also paste formatting and it's not much better.
  • If I can paste text without it being formatted, why can't I paste + events without Excel adding an = before it?

Minimal example

Here's a screenshot, the second cell has the same content as the first one but the ' is not masked. This happens when I paste the text directly on the cell, not if I paste it in the top bar (but that takes twice as many time).

I'm using Excel 2013 from the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 suite.

  • Where are you copying the text from? – cybernetic.nomad Mar 12 at 15:31
  • @cybernetic.nomad from one cell, to another – Teleporting Goat Mar 12 at 15:39
  • 1
    I can't reproduce the problem. Can you edit your question to include the version of Excel you are using and maybe a screen cap of the problem cell and the formula bar for it? – cybernetic.nomad Mar 12 at 15:41
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    I can reproduce in office 365 if I double click in the cell and highlight the contents, then copy and paste, or if I highlight the contents of the top bar. I can avoid by not highlighting the contents and just using copy and paste with ctrl+c or ctrl+v. – Brian Mar 12 at 16:17
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    To reproduce this problem you should copy the text (the content of the cell), not the cell itself, it also works if you copy the text from an application other than Excel. The change from '+ to + will be made when the cell is validated (double click or edit the cell then press Enter). – Stormweaker Mar 12 at 16:20

Just a quick F2 before Ctrl+V will avoid the behaviour you're describing.

Example below.


The characters =, + and - are used to start a formula, if you do not want to have this behavior and are bothered by the use of ', you can format cells as Text to prevent Excel from creating a formula.

(Sorry, image is in French)

enter image description here

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