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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Getting Rid of Background Color in All Tables

When working with tables (particularly those created by others), you can spend a large amount of time getting the ...

Discover More

Determining the Complexity of a Worksheet

If you have multiple worksheets that each provide different ways to arrive at the same results, you may be wondering how ...

Discover More

Unable to Edit Document with Embedded Fonts

What are you to do if you embed fonts in a document and then someone else cannot make changes to that document? Chances ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell

Excel allows you to edit your cell contents in two places. What if you want to limit where editing occurs, so it can only ...

Discover More

Deleting Everything Except Formulas

Need to get rid of everything in a worksheet except the formulas? It's easier to make this huge change than you think it is.

Discover More

Limiting Input to a Format

When setting up a worksheet for others to use, you might want to make some limitations on what can be entered in certain ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 9?

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!


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.