Can someone imagine using Microsoft Excel without formulas? I believe no one can. And hardly anything could compare to the frustration caused by Excel formulas stop working all of a sudden.
When this happens, a bunch of questions immediately flash across your mind. Why is my Excel formula not calculating? Why doesn't this formula update its value automatically? Is my Excel corrupt or is this due to some malicious virus? And how do I get my Excel to calculate and update formulas automatically again? Don't worry, most likely your Excel is all right, and you will get all the answers in a moment.
Excel formulas not working - a formula returns an error or wrong result. Excel formulas not updating - a formula displays an old value after the values of the dependent cells have been updated. Excel formulas not calculating - a cell displays a formula, not result. Excel formulas not working Symptoms: Excel formula not working correctly, it returns an error or a wrong result. This section provides a summary of the most common mistakes people make when creating formulas in Excel and solutions to fix them.
Match all opening and closing parentheses in a formula As you know, the arguments of Excel functions are entered within the parentheses. In complex formulas, you may need to enter more than one set of parentheses, one within another, to indicate the order in which the calculations should take place. When creating such a formula, be sure to pair the parentheses properly so that you always have a right parenthesis for every left parenthesis in your formula.
Microsoft Excel displays the parentheses pairs in different colors as you enter them in a formula. If your formula is short of one or more parentheses, Excel displays an error message and suggests a correction to balance the pairs. Please see How to highlight and match parenthesis pairs for more information.
Enter all required arguments in an Excel function All Excel functions have one or more required arguments. Some functions also have optional arguments, which are enclosed in [square brackets] in the formula's syntax. A formula must contain all of the required arguments, otherwise Excel displays "You've entered too few arguments for this function" alert.
If you have entered more arguments than allowed by the formula's syntax, you will get "You've entered too many arguments for this function" error message. Do not nest more than 64 functions in a formula When nesting two or more Excel functions into each other, e. In Excel , Excel , Excel and Excel , you can use up to 64 nested functions.
In Excel and lower, only up to 7 nested functions can be used. Don't enclose numbers in double quotes In Excel formulas, any value enclosed in double quotes is interpreted as a text string. To fix this, just remove the double quotes around "1": So, whenever you are writing a formula for numerical values, follow this simple rule: Remember that in Excel formulas, a comma is typically used to separate a function's arguments, and the dollar sign makes an absolute cell reference.
Make sure numbers are not formatted as text values Numbers formatted as text values are another common reason for Excel formulas not working. At first sight, they look like normal numbers, but Microsoft Excel perceives them as text strings and leaves out of calculations.
The visual indicators of text-numbers are as follows: Numbers formatted as text are left-aligned by default, while normal numbers are right-aligned in cells. When several cells with text numbers are selected on the sheet, the Status Bar only shows Count, while usually it shows Average, Count and SUM for numbers. There may be a leading apostrophe visible in the formula bar, or green triangles appear in the top-left corner of the cells.
The below screenshot shows that even a simple Excel SUM formula may not work because of numbers formatted as text: To fix this, select all problematic cells, click the warning sign, and then click Convert to Number: In some cases, however, neither green triangles nor the warning sign appear in cells. For example, if you enclose numeric values in double quotes in your formulas, Excel assumes you want to output a text string rather than a number.
At first sight, the following formula appears to be working fine: And if you reference any cells with the above formula in other formulas, those cells won't be included in calculations. As soon as you remove "" surrounding 1 and 0 in the above formula, Excel will treat the outputs as numbers and they will be calculated correctly. If the small green triangles do not appear in cells for some other reason, look at the Number Format box on the Home tab in the Number group.
If it displays Text, try clearing all formatting for the problematic cells, and set the cells' format to Number or General. If that doesn't work, you might have to create a new column, manually input the data e.
Separate function arguments with a proper character Most of us are used to separating function arguments with commas. However, this does not work for everyone's Excel. The character you use to separate arguments depends on the List Separator set in your Regional Settings.
Comma is the default list separator in North America and some other countries. In European countries, comma is used as the decimal symbol and the list separator is usually set to semicolon. So, if your Excel formulas are not working because of "We found a problem with this formula And then, use exactly that character to separate arguments in your Excel formulas. Enclose workbook and worksheet names in single quotes When referring to other worksheets or workbooks that have spaces or non-alphabetical characters in their names, enclose the names in 'single quotation marks'.
For example, Reference to another sheet: