Excel not recognising formula

Occasionally when you are working with files (typically involving imported data) it appears as if Excel is not recognising the formula as a formula. Instead of seeing the answer, you see the actual formula. Below is a two step process as a solution to Excel not recognising formula as a calculation.

YouTube Excel shows formula not result

Formula does not work- shows formula no result

So below we have tried to create a Total by adding up Product A and Product B but when we enter the formula, it shows the formula (=C2+D2) instead of the answer.


The most common reason for this is that the cells are formatting as text. In theory it is an easy fix. Highlight the cells and change the format to General or the Number format you want.

You may however note that the formula still stays. But if you click in the cell and immediately click out, it recognises the formula and proceeds as normal. This is ok for 1 cell but what if you need to do hundreds.

The easiest solution is to use the FIND/ REPLACE tool.

Highlight the cells and do a FIND/ REPLACE on the equals (=) sign. In this case you are finding the ‘=’ and replacing it with an ‘=’. Effectively you are not changing anything, however, you are forcing Excel to go into and out of each cell which achieves the same result as clicking into and out of cells.

Double click Excel cell to follow formula not working

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