Formula Bar and Name Box: Just under the Ribbon is the Formula Bar with the Name Box to the left. In Figs. 1.3 and 1.4 the Name Box is displaying E6. You will notice that both the E column and the six row headings are highlighted and that the cell at the intersection of this column and row is picked out by a border. We call E6 the active cell, and we say that the Name Box displays the reference (or address) of the active cell. When the active cell contains a literal (text or number), the Formula Bar also displays the same thing, but when the cell holds a formula then the formula bar displays the actual formula while the cell generally displays the result of that formula. Quick experiment: type B4 in the name box and press ; note how this takes you to cell B4.

You are watching: The formula bar displays the data known as the

Note: It is becoming common to talk about tabs when worksheets are meant. This is very poor practice since it can cause confusion and will not benefit a user searching in Help.

Bernard V. Liengme, David J. Ellert, in A Guide to Microsoft Excel 2007 for Scientists and Engineers, 2009

Display Formulas

As mentioned before, the short cut

(where ′ is the key to the left of 1 on the top row of the keyboard) causes the worksheet to display formulas not values. The shortcut is a toggle—use it the second time to return to values.

To “capture” a cell's formula for display in another cell or in another application such as Word:


With the source cell selected, use the mouse to highlight the entire formula in the formula bar. Use the

shortcut to copy it to the Clipboard.



key. This is most important; otherwise the cell formula will be compromised.


Move to where the formula is required and use the normal paste command. If the target is an Excel cell, you must precede it with an apostrophe to have it display as text. Otherwise you will have just copied the formula but with no reference adjustment, which can sometimes be useful.

Note that this is a static procedure, meaning that a change in the source cell will not result in a change in the displayed version. For a quicker and dynamic solution, one can use the following UDF.

If this is placed in the Personal.xlsb file, it will be available in all other workbooks. It would be found in the Insert Function dialog in the User Defined category as Personal.xlsb!Showform.

Bernard V. Liengme, in A Guide to Microsoft Excel 2013 for Scientists and Engineers, 2016

The Insert Function Command

So far, we have composed formulas with functions using the AutoSum tool. The Insert Function tool provides us with access to a greater range of functions. We may access it either with the icon (fx) that is located to the left of the formula bar or with the command Formulas / Function Library / Insert Function. Either way opens the dialog shown in Figure 4.3. Within this, you may select the function you wish to use, learn a little of what it does, and insert its arguments. The search box provides some limited help in locating a function based on what you type, but it is not very intelligent. The categories box allows you to filter the list of functions to just one category or to a list of recently used functions. In the next exercise, we see how to use the dialog to create a formula containing a function.

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When you become more familiar with the functions, you can use one of the other tools in the Formulas / Function Library group to locate a function based on its category—see Figure 4.4.