Excel/=+cell reference


Hi Tom,
could you help me with the following question: what is difference between using the cell reference starting with "+" in comparison with the one without it. For example, if I want to refer to the cell A1, I can enter =+A1 or just =A1. So, what is the meaning of the "+" in the formula?

Thank you in advance,
Violeta Papic


the + is a remnant of support for the old LOTUS 123 spreadsheet.  In lotus, they indicated a formula by using the + sign.  So if you enter  +A1 in a cell, excel sees that as an indication that this is a formula and will convert that to =+A1 rather than throwing the plus sign away.  

So there really is no difference.  Instead of entering +A1, enter with =A1

Tom Ogilvy  
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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


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Master of Science (MS) degree Operations Research (ORSA)

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