How to Show Formulas in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide


Michael Collins

Showing formulas in Excel is a breeze once you know where to look. It’s a matter of a few clicks, really. All you need to do is go to the Formulas tab, click on the ‘Show Formulas’ button, and voila! You can see all the formulas you’ve used in your spreadsheet. This quick overview will help you get started, but keep reading for more detailed instructions.

Step by Step Tutorial to Show Formulas in Excel

Ever been flabbergasted by an Excel sheet full of numbers and wondered what sorcery is happening behind the scenes? Well, fear not! The steps below will show you exactly how to reveal all the magical formulas that make your spreadsheet work.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

Begin by opening the Excel file you want to work with.

Opening your file is, of course, your starting point. Make sure you have the right spreadsheet open – nobody likes to reveal their formulas to the wrong audience!

Step 2: Go to the Formulas Tab

Click on the ‘Formulas’ tab located in the Excel ribbon.

The Formulas tab is like the secret doorway to the world of Excel formulas. It’s where all the formula-related tools hang out, waiting to be used.

Step 3: Click on ‘Show Formulas’

In the Formula Auditing group, click on the ‘Show Formulas’ button.

When you click this button, it’s like putting on glasses that let you see through the numbers to the formulas beneath. It’s a game-changer, especially when you’re trying to troubleshoot or understand how a spreadsheet is set up.

Once you’ve completed these steps, all the formulas in your spreadsheet will be displayed in the cells instead of the results. This can be super helpful when you’re trying to check your work or figure out what’s going on in a complex spreadsheet.

Tips for Showing Formulas in Excel

Now that you know the basic steps, here are a few extra tips to help you show formulas like a pro:

  • Pressing Ctrl + ` (the grave accent key) is a quick keyboard shortcut to toggle the display of formulas on and off.
  • Double-clicking a cell with a formula will also reveal it, allowing you to edit it directly.
  • If you only want to view the formula for one cell, just select the cell and look in the formula bar at the top of Excel.
  • To print the formulas, ensure ‘Show Formulas’ is enabled before hitting print.
  • Remember that showing formulas will stretch your cells to accommodate them, which might mess up your formatting, so toggle it off before presenting your data.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I hide the formulas again?

To hide the formulas, simply click the ‘Show Formulas’ button again, or press Ctrl + ` on your keyboard.

Hiding formulas is just as simple as showing them. It’s like turning the invisibility cloak on and off – a simple click or keystroke and everything goes back to normal.

Can I show formulas in just one cell?

Yes, you can. Select the cell and look in the formula bar to view its formula without displaying all formulas in the spreadsheet.

This is handy when you’re only curious about how one particular number was conjured up. A quick peek in the formula bar, and you’re in the know.

Will showing formulas change how my spreadsheet works?

No, it won’t. Showing formulas is just for viewing and does not affect the functionality of your spreadsheet.

Think of it as a behind-the-scenes tour. You get to see how everything is put together, but the show still goes on as usual.

Can I edit formulas in ‘Show Formulas’ mode?

Absolutely! Just click on the cell with the formula you want to edit, and you can make changes right there.

Editing in ‘Show Formulas’ mode is like tweaking the recipe while you’re cooking – it’s all happening in real-time.

Why are some of my formulas not showing up?

This could happen if the cell is too small to display the entire formula. Try adjusting the column width, or double-click the cell to see the full formula.

It’s like trying to fit a big secret into a small envelope – sometimes, you just need a bigger envelope.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Click on the ‘Formulas’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Show Formulas’.


There you have it, folks – a simple guide on how to show formulas in Excel. Whether you’re a beginner trying to understand the basics or a seasoned pro looking to double-check your work, knowing how to reveal the formulas in your spreadsheets is an invaluable skill. It gives you insight into the data and the calculations that drive your results, empowering you to make informed decisions and catch any pesky errors hiding in plain sight.

Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and formulas are the heart that keeps your data beating. So, don’t be intimidated by them. Embrace the power of the ‘Show Formulas’ feature, and you’ll soon be wowing colleagues with your Excel wizardry. And if you ever find yourself stuck, just come back to this guide for a quick refresher.

Happy spreadsheeting, and may your formulas always be correct!