Show or Hide Formulas in Excel Using a Keyboard Shortcut, Button or Formula

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 27, 2019

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can easily show or hide formulas in a number of ways in Microsoft Excel. You can use a keyboard shortcut, click a button and even use a formula to show formulas. Although you can double-click a cell or press F2 to show the formula in one cell, the first two methods will show formulas in all cells. With the third method, you can view formulas for specific cells.

Recommended article: How to Delete Blank Rows in Microsoft Excel

Showing formulas using a keyboard shortcut

You can show or hide formulas using a keyboard shortcut. Press Ctrl + tilde (~) or Ctrl + accent grave (`) to show or hide formulas. The tilde / accent grave key appears on the top left of most keyboards below the Esc key. This shortcut works in all versions of Excel.

Showing formulas using a button

An easy way to show or hide formulas in Excel is to use the Show Formulas button.

To show formulas using a button:

  1. Click the Formulas tab in the Ribbon.
  2. In the Formula Auditing group, click Show Formulas. The worksheet will now display with formulas instead of values.
  3. Click Show Formulas again to hide the formulas.

Below is the Formulas tab in the Ribbon:

Formulas tab in the Ribbon in Microsoft Excel with Show Formulas button.

Showing formulas using the FORMULATEXT function

You can also use the FORMULATEXT function in a cell to display the formula from another cell as a text string. This is very useful if you want to audit a worksheet and view both values and formulas. The FORMULATEXT function is available in Excel 2013 and later versions.

The syntax for the FORMULATEXT function is =FORMULATEXT(reference) where reference is a cell or a range of cells.

The FORMULATEXT function will return an #N/A error if:

  • The formula refers to a cell that does not contain a formula.
  • The formula refers to another workbook but the workbook is not open.

In the following example, we have regular formulas in column C and in column D, we’ve used the FORMULATEXT function:

Microsoft Excel worksheet using the FormulaText function.

So in D2, the formula would be =FORMULATEXT(C2).

Bonus: Hiding formulas and locking cells

There is one more method that you can use if you want to really hide formulas and prevent others from unhiding them. You’ll need to choose the Hidden option in the Format Cells dialog box for specific cells and then protect the worksheet.

The first step is to hide the formulas:

  1. Select the cells with the formulas you wish to hide.
  2. Right-click the selected cell(s) and choose Format Cells or press Ctrl + 1. The Format Cells dialog appears.
  3. Click the Protection tab.
  4. Check Hidden. If you want to protect the cell(s) as well, ensure Locked is checked.
  5. Click OK. Nothing will appear to occur until you protect the sheet.

Below is the Format Cells dialog box:

Format Cells dialog box with Hidden checkbox.

The second step is to protect the worksheet:

  1. Display the worksheet with the cells that have been formatted as Hidden in the Format Cells dialog box.
  2. Click the Review tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Changes group, click Protect Sheet. A dialog box appears.
  4. Check or uncheck the desired options (you would usually leave the first two checked).
  5. Enter a password (you will need to set a password or anyone will be able to unprotect the sheet). Passwords are case sensitive and you should keep a copy of your passwords somewhere else.
  6. Enter the password again.
  7. Click OK. All formulas you have marked as Hidden will no longer appear in the Formula Bar.

Below is the Protect Sheet dialog box:

Protect Sheet dialog box.

To unhide formulas and unprotect the worksheet:

  1. Display the desired worksheet.
  2. Click the Review tab in the Ribbon and click Unprotect Sheet.
  3. Enter the appropriate password.
  4. Click OK.

The first two methods are used most often but the last two provide some interesting alternatives.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.

Recommended Microsoft Excel training

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft Excel: Data Analysis with Functions, Dashboards and What-If Analysis Tools

Microsoft Excel: Introduction to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led classroom training courses are delivered at our downtown Toronto location at 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us if you’d like to arrange custom training at your office on a date that’s convenient for you.

To request this page in an alternate format, contact us.

Copyright 2019 Avantix® Learning Inc.

You may also like

How to Create 3D References in Microsoft Excel

How to Create 3D References in Microsoft Excel

You can use 3D references in Excel formulas to calculate across multiple worksheets that are structured in the same way. A 3D reference refers to the same cell or range of cells on multiple worksheets.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Easily Show or Hide Formulas in Microsoft Excel (3+ Ways)
Article Name
How to Easily Show or Hide Formulas in Microsoft Excel (3+ Ways)
Description
You can easily show or hide formulas in a number of ways in Microsoft Excel. You can use a keyboard shortcut, click a button and even use a formula to show formulas.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning Inc.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This