Formula Bar



Name Box Name Box displaying cell reference

The Name Box shows the cell reference or the name of the active cell. For a range, only the upper left cell reference is shown.

When a cell with a name is selected, like TotalSalesfor1998, the Name Box looks like: Name Box displaying cell name  

Having named cells and ranges is handy for navigating large worksheets. Names are also useful in creating some kinds of formulas and logical tests.

TipA name must start with a letter or an underscore character and can include only letters, numbers, periods and underscore characters. No spaces are allowed in the names! A name cannot be the same as a cell reference. (There would be no point to that anyway!)


Formula Bar Buttons Formula Bar Buttons  Buttons: on Formula bar - Excel 2002

The buttons on the formula bar act on the selected cell, which has its contents displayed in the box to the right of these buttons.
 

X button The red X cancels your changes if you haven't entered the data yet. Pressing the ESC key does the same thing. If you have already entered the data into the cell, use the Undo command to reverse what you did. Remember that Undo only remembers 16 actions. 
 
Checkmark button

 The green check mark enters what you typed into the cell and leaves the cell selected. Pressing the ENTER key also makes the cell accept what you typed, but then it changes the selection to the cell below, by default.
 

Equals button

Icon: Excel 97 Icon: Excel 2000 Clicking the Equals button opens a dialog box where you can see the result of a formula before you enter it into the cell. This can save a lot of confusion and aggravation. Catch mistakes early!
 

Button: Paste Function Icon: Excel 2003In Excel 2002/2003 the Paste Function button is here at the left of the Formula area. It opens a dialog that helps you choose and complete a number of standard functions.

Formula Bar Formula bar = This is cell B3.

The right-hand side of the Formula bar shows the contents of the active cell.

The contents of a cell can be text, a number, a formula for calculating a number, or a logical test that determines what the cell will display. In the cell you normally see the results of the formula or logical test rather than the formula itself.

Examples of cell contents

TipNote that a formula or logical test must start with an equals sign!


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