Loading
Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

Character Replacement in Simple Formulas

Want to try an experiment? Enter something in a cell, but make sure that you start a new line somewhere within the cell. For instance, enter 123 then press Alt+Enter and press 456. You should see two lines within the cell, with three digits on each line. Now, in another cell, put a simple formula that references the first cell, as in =A7.

What happened after you entered the formula? The results of the formula should not look the same as what you typed in the first cell. Instead of being on two lines, the contents should be on one line, separated by a small, rectangular box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Odd characters: replaced in the formula?

It is interesting to note that this experiment works because when you press Alt+Enter to put in your first cell's value, Excel automatically turns on text wrapping for the cell. You can verify this by selecting the cell and choosing Format | Cells | Alignment tab (pay attention to the Wrap Text check box). When you used the formula, however, the cell into which the results were copied did not have this attribute turned on, so the character created by Alt+Enter was displayed as a text character instead of controlling wrapping.

If you turn on text wrapping for the target cell, then the text in the formula's cell will display on two lines, just like you would expect. Conversely, if you turn off text wrapping in the original cell, then the text folds back up to one line and the small, rectangular box appears.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3206) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Related Tips:

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

 

Leave your own comment:

*Name:
Email:
  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*Text:
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
 
 
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

Ray Austin    15 Nov 2014, 06:26
I do NOT see a small black box in the formula cell, all I see is 123456, so one cannot see that the text is in two parts.

However turning on Text Wrapping does put it onto 2 lines.
 
 

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us

 

Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites

Tips.Net

Beauty and Style

Cars

Cleaning

Cooking

DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)

Gardening

Health

Home Improvement

Money and Finances

Organizing

Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives

 

Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.