The longer and more complex a spreadsheet gets, the harder it can be to troubleshoot. By default, Microsoft Excel only shows you whether a cell contains a formula and what that formula is only when you click it. This makes finding those cells time consuming at best and downright frustrating at worst. Switching Excel to displaying the formulas themselves rather than their result will make troubleshooting easier.
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Launch Microsoft Excel and open the spreadsheet in which you want to show formulas.
Select the "Formulas" tab and click "Show Formulas." Alternatively, press "Ctrl" and the grave accent key. On British English keyboards, this key is located directly below the "Escape" key.
Click the "Show Formulas" button or press the keyboard shortcut again to hide formulas.
Tips and warnings
- When you select a cell that contains a formula while formulas are shown, Excel highlights each reference to another cell with a unique colour.
- If you print out the spreadsheet while formulas are shown, the printout will also display the formulas rather than their results.
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