The problem with starting excel formula with plus

Starting excel formula with plus- why you should not

We often get asked why we don’t recommend starting excel formula with plus and advise that all formula start with equals (=). It is more a gut feel but there are bugs in Excel can be avoided. Two recent discoveries are

South African Currency Issue

South Africa’s currency is the Rand and is shown as an R in from of the number e.g. R100. If you are working in a spreadsheet you you start the formula with a + and then click on a cell in the R column, Excel shows the row number as if it was a number i.e. if you go +R7 (plus and you click on R7) the cell answer becomes a 7 instead of what is in cell R7. If you type +R7 it works and if you start with an =’s it works. Not sure if this is an issue with other currencies.

Grouping of sheets and starting with a plus sign

An interesting problem we discovered during a course is that if, while grouping a number of sheet together, you start the formula by typing ‘+’ and then do a multiplication in it, the sheet you are working on will be fine, but the other grouped sheets will suddenly change to R1C1 referencing and won’t work. Not sure why but another reason to rather start with an =.