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Show Me The… Formulas?

Show Me The… Formulas?

I don’t know about you but when I’m trying to proofread a document I usually need to go through a hard copy. For some reason seeing things in printed form will usually help with that whole process.

So, what do you do when you’re trying to proof an MS Excel worksheet?

You can print it out, but let’s face it. What you get in the printout is the results of the calculations.

How do you proof formulas when you aren’t seeing them?

You could go through the file on the monitor, cell by cell, continually jumping back and forth visually between the worksheet and the formula bar.

Yep—you could do that but it may take a while. (Not to mention the headache it gives you for your trouble.) And what about the people who proof better from a hard copy?

Are they just out of luck?

Well, let’s hope not! I mean, the program wouldn’t be very versatile if it was a situation of just “too bad, so sad for you”.

So, if we can print the formulas, not the values, then how?

The answer is all in your options.


Yes – options – as in, Tools menu, Options choice.

Now go to the View tab.


In the Windows options section (at the bottom) you’re looking for the Formulas choice.

Check the box.

Then click OK.

Instantly you should be returned to your worksheet where everything is now displayed as a formula, not a value. (Unless the data entered was a number – not a formula – those would still be numbers, of course.)

If you print now you’ll get a printout with the formulas instead of the values.

By the way, this setting will stay until you go back to the Options window and uncheck the Formulas choice. So… you’ll need to repeat the process to return to the calculated numbers.

When proofing, I sometimes find myself printing important files twice—especially if I know I have a mistake somewhere but can’t find it—once with formulas and once with the results. I find that being able to see both pieces of information simultaneously helps with the editing process.

Cheers to finding yet one more way to have what you want when you want it! We all need a few more of those options in our lives.

~ April