I often need to do such things as enter a column of twitter handles. But if I start a cell by typing "@", excel assumes its a formula, and worse, refuses to accept a bad formula.

2 Answers 2


usually you can use ' at the beginning of a cell to show the value as a string.

  • Wow, this is an awesome trick. The column/cell does not even need to be formatted as text first for this to work.
    – xdumaine
    May 24, 2012 at 17:22
  • Yeah, it's a handy one, especially if you want to start with an =
    – MaddHacker
    May 24, 2012 at 17:24
  • 1
    @DragonFax -- you should accept this as the answer. The tick mark at the beginning of a cell is the universally accepted way to do this. Jun 2, 2012 at 20:37
  • would have been accepted faster but stackexchange seems to have stopped emailing me. will investigate.
    – DragonFax
    Jun 22, 2012 at 20:54

Through experimentation, I found that I can set the whole column with a format of "Text" and that convinces Excel to accept the poorly formated "formulas". So this is a workable solution.

But I don't accept this as an elegant or proper solution, as it still assumes the input is a formula, and it acts as so (trying to sum other cells clicked, and such) until I force it to finish editing the cell. In other words, I don't trust the results of this solution.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.