Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Viewing Formula Results.

Viewing Formula Results

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 16, 2016)

7

When you are developing complex formulas, or when you are examining the formulas developed by others, it can often be beneficial to look at the results of a particular portion of a formula. For instance, consider the following formula:

=(C2+F7)*C3/F8

You may want to know the value of C3/F8. In order to find this out, you can do the following:

  1. Press F2 to edit the formula in the cell.
  2. Select the portion of the formula whose value you want to see. In this instance, you would select C3/F8.
  3. Press F9. Excel replaces the portion of the formula with its result.

At this point, you have two options. If you press Enter or otherwise move to a different cell, Excel assumes you have edited the formula and makes the change. The second option is to press the Esc key, which tells Excel to not make any changes to the formula.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12157) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Viewing Formula Results.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 3 + 8?

2016-04-18 12:31:48

Neil

Thanks Allen, very helpful trick! Also thanks to those that recommended CTRL+Z.


2016-04-17 18:12:01

Jim Burtt

4. Press CTRL + ~ to view all formulas in a worksheet. Press again to revert.


2016-04-16 17:45:56

Peter buckley

In response to evaluating parts of a formula, I find using "Evaluate formula" a very easy way to identify and resolve complex formula problems. Best feature available.


2016-04-16 11:33:03

Chris Wagner

Don't forget about {CTRL} Z when wanting to further examine the formula. After pressing F9 you can press the ESC key to exit the formula. But if you still want to examine other parts of the formula press CTRL z instead. You can then move the curser to the next section of the formula.


2016-04-16 11:16:34

Rien

Great trick! I was completely unaware of this one. Thanks.

One additional remark:
apart from <ENTER> to confirm or <ESC> to leave unchanged, you could also use <CTRL-Z> to toggle between formula and its result. This really helps to evaluate part of the formula and continue editing without leaving the cell and returning into it.


2016-04-16 06:10:41

Barry

That's a nice trick. I've always gone to the Formulas tab and stepped through Evaluate Formula. Highlighting and pressing F9, though, is quite handy (so long as I remember which function key to use).


2016-04-16 05:02:10

Tim Kendal

Just a note for Mac Users (Excel for Mac 2011). As you probably know, the Windows F2 doesn't work on the Mac. Ctrl-U keyboard has the same effect as Windows F2.

But I was delighted to find this tip - using F9 on the Mac DOES work as described! Of course you have to press fn-F9, but that's well known.

I wonder why they took away F2. As far as I can see it doesn't do anything else!


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