Below are the top 5 most common reasons why formula text is shown in cell instead of its results. They are sorted by frequency with most popular at the top.
They apply to Excel 2013 and Excel 2016.
No equal sign before the formula
Make sure that there is an equal sign before the formula.
Formula is inside quotes or apostrophes
Check that you typed formula with no quotes or apostrophes at beginning or end.
Worksheet is set to display formula – not results
Hold down theCtrl and push `
Click on the Formulas Tab then check if “Show Formulas” button isn’t on.
Cell is formatted as text
Sometimes showing formula as text might be due to cell format. Change it to general to see if it helps.
Right click on the cell with formula
Choose Format Cells
Select Category -> General
Click OK button
Cell with formula is locked
Found that the cell I had the formula in was “locked” (Format Cells / Protection) – it would seem that this also prevents the value from showing.
De-selecting “Locked” the value appeared immediately.
(tip from our reader Clare – thank you!)