Add the (±) plus minus symbol in Excel

If you want to add the (±) plus minus symbol in Excel there are a number of ways to do it. There are pros and cons with each so it will depend on what you want to achieve.

YouTube (±) plus minus symbol in Excel

Prefer to watch how this is done. View it on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/_3-y1eAnFuc (opens in a new window).

Type the (±) plus minus symbol

The simplest way, but it relies on Excel noticing it, is to type +- and then hit your spacebar. As shown below (1) if you type +- in front of a number when you click the spacebar it will change into the ± symbol (2).

Impact of ± on formula

Quick answer is the a ± in front of any number turns that cell into text so any formula attached to that cell expecting a number will generate an error message. Below how to show a plus minus symbol next to a number without affecting the calculation.

Add plus minus to multiple cells

The are a number of ways to change multiple cells to start with the plus minus symbol.

Flash Fill

For a quick solution, in the column directly adjacent to the one with the numbers in, type exactly what you want to see as shown in (1) below. Then click on DATA (2), and Flash Fill (3) and it will mimic what you have done to all the others. If it looks wrong, give it another example by typing what you want to see in one of the wrong cells.

Be aware that any formula connected to this cell will break as this is now text. See below for a way to avoid this.

CONCAT

A formula based option is using CONCAT (new version of CONCATENATE) where you just need to copy the ± symbol from somewhere and include it in the CONCAT formula as shown below.

Be aware that any formula connected to this cell will break as this is now text. See below for a way to avoid this.

TEXT function

You can do something similar with the TEXT function. As shown below, in the Format Text part of the TEXT function you need to enter ” ± 0″ which will create the look you want, but be aware that any formula connected to this cell will break as this is now text. See below for a way to avoid this.

Insert the symbol ±

You can also use the insert Symbol tool. As shown below in the INSERT ribbon (1), you can click on Symbol (2), then make sure you are on the Symbol font (3) (note there are also others) and about 60% down (4) you will see the plus minus symbol (5).

Be aware that any formula connected to this cell will break as this is now text. See below for a way to avoid this.

± so that formula still work

If you want to include plus minus in a number but not affect the formula, you need to use a custom format so that, although you see the ± symbol, Excel does not and it continues to treat the cell as a normal number.

As shown below, although Excel sees it as a number (1), it shows in the cells with a plus minus preceding it (3). In order to achieve this you need to create a custom format and put the ± in front of the format type. Below (2) we wanted it to be in front of numbers that turn red when negative so the code to use is

” ± “# ##0;[RED]” ± “-# ##0

Depending on what format you want you will just need to play with the format to get it right.

Shortcut to insert a symbol in Excel

Don’t use + to start an Excel formula

Group/ Ungroup- move the plus and minus icon to the top