Why do some people use Plus Sign at beginning of formulas?

Captain Smith

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
324
I have noticed that a handful of people at work enter a formula as =+A1+A2 instead of the way I would enter it =A1+A2

What is the origin of the extra plus sign at the beginning? To me it seems to be unproductive and is simply not needed. I have been using Excel for over 12 years and have never needed to enter any formulas like that. Does this originate back to a much older version of Excel where it was once needed?

Just curious.
Thanks.
 

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ajetrumpet

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perhaps a question that has relevance is better suited for this use of cyber space. :D
 

Captain Smith

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
324
This is an Excel board and that was an Excel question. I have seen posts from people asking how to make a Football pool in Excel. To me that is not relevant at all. But to others it is.
 

Tom Urtis

MrExcel MVP
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Messages
11,279
The "+" character is a backwards-compatible effort by Microsoft to accommodate formula entry by people who were former Lotus users, in long ago days when Lotus was the dominant spreadsheet program and MS was building their customer base.

Given the premise of the question being "why use it and why is it there", my understanding of the "+" character's genesis and existence in Excel formulas is rooted in compatibility with other programs. It's there because Microsoft was in a battle with Lotus and other programs some 15 years ago for spreadsheet marketshare dominance, and incorporated features like this for compatibility, just as REM and some BASIC statements are still supported in VBA.

Though the "+" character has a coercive effect in some formulas, one would typically not employ or be advised to rely on the preceding "+" as a general strategy for coercion before employing +0, *1, or --.

Most times when I see a formula with a preceding "+" character, it's composed by an ex-Lotus convert.
 

Captain Smith

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
324
Thanks J Ericson and Tom Urtis. Those were very relevant answers to a relevant question. Glad to see others who are relevant as I am. Your answers makes a lot of sense.

:)
 

Nshull

New Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Messages
14
Definitely a relevant question as I too arrived at this thread with the exact same question...
 

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