Start a Formula with = or +


November 17, 2021 - by Bill Jelen

Start a Formula with = or +

Problem: Every Excel formula has to start with an equals sign. There is no equals sign on the numeric keypad. It’s a pain to type the equals sign.

Strategy: In order to make the transition from Lotus 1-2-3 to Excel less painful, Microsoft allows you to start a formula with the + sign. Because there is a huge plus key on the numeric keypad of most desktop computers, it is often easier to start the formula with plus than with equals, especially if you’re entering the rest of your formula using arrow keys. You simply type the plus sign and your formula.


You can create a formula of +H2/F2.  Excel will add an equals sign before the formula.
Figure 156. Start a Formula with = or +

Gotcha: After you press the Enter key, Excel will edit the formula to add an equals sign before the initial plus. This will cause people to ask why you are using =+2+2 instead of just =2+2.

When you begin a formula with a plus sign and then press Enter, Excel rewrites the formula as =+H2/F2.
Figure 157. Excel accepts the formula, but adds an equals sign.

This article is an excerpt from Power Excel With MrExcel

Title photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash



Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of:
Excel Dynamic Arrays Straight to the Point 2nd Edition

Fifteen months after Dynamic Arrays debuted for Office Insiders, the functions are being released to General Availability. This second edition of the book has been updated with new examples: see how Dynamic Arrays make XLOOKUP better. The chapter on the logic behind arrays has been expanded.