Excel 2007: Use Descriptions in Complex Formulas

Posted August 12, 2008 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Excel

If you are troubleshooting a spreadsheet with complex formulas, it can sometimes be a very time consuming task to figure out what the formula is supposed to be calculating. A good practice to follow is to include a description in the formula itself so the user can more easily understand the purpose of the formula.

1. Go to the Excel worksheet containing the formula(s) to be described.

2. Select the cell containing the formula.

3. You will see the formula in the Formula Bar above the spreadsheet. Click at the end of the displayed formula and input the following:
+N("your description")

where your description is replaced with the desired comment you wish to use to describe the equation.

For example:
A1+A2+N("simple formula for getting the sum of two cells")

4. Press Enter.

The formula results will not be affected by the description. In fact, the description will go unnoticed unless you click in the cell that the formula is in and review it in the Formula Bar.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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