Excel Symbols – do you know what they mean? Take a look at the table below!

This week’s blog is all about Excel symbols. They can be quite simple but if you don’t know what they mean it can be daunting or even frustrating! Some are a lot more obvious than others.

Excel is often used by a lot of people as a way of data entry and so people often do not have to use or understand what these symbols mean as they are already built into the spreadsheets that they use. But have you ever been in a situation where you have clicked into a cell, exposed the formula and panicked at what you saw? All those symbols jumbled together and not knowing what they mean? Don’t worry, it happens to us all! So because of this, we decided to put a table into our Basic course as a bit of a ‘Glossary’ to help when you start off learning about Excel!

Some of you would have been on our Basic Excel course and seen this table in your course notes you took away with you, however some of you wouldn’t have seen it. So we thought we would share this table with you all that we put together of some of the common used basic symbols in Excel.

We hope you find this table useful! Let us know what you think!

Symbol/FeatureDescription
=This is an equals sign and is used at the beginning of a formula
+This is an addition sign and is used in sums and formulas
-This is a subtraction sign and is used in sums and formulas
/This is a division sign and is used in sums and formulas
*This is a multiplication sign and is used in sums and formulas
( )These are rounded brackets and are used to group together smaller sums in more complex formulas
:This is a colon and is used in a formula to create a range of cells (e.g. A2:B4)
,This is a comma and is used for separating cell references in formulas (often for non-adjacent cells)
$This is a dollar sign and is used when creating absolute references
%This is a percentage sign and is used when dealing with figures in percentages
[ ]These are square brackets and are used for identifying a workbook which is being linked in to a formula e.g. =[Book1]Sheet1!$A$1
!This is an exclamation mark and is used for identifying a worksheet which is being linked in to a formula e.g. =Sheet2!A1
Ctrl ‘strange button’('strange button' is found just below Esc key with 3 symbols on it) This shows all formulas on a worksheet

These are all used in calculations and formulas in Excel and they are covered in more detail on our Basic and Intermediate Excel 1 day courses.

If you want to have a look at what else is covered in our Excel courses, you can take a look at our agendas on our website here, also take a look at our customer comments section and see what others have thought when they have come on one of our courses!

Cookie Control

Cookie control

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

I'm fine with this

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can use this tool to change your cookie settings. Otherwise, we’ll assume you’re OK to continue.

Some of the cookies we use are essential for the site to work.

We also use some non-essential cookies to collect information for making reports and to help us improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form.

To control third party cookies, you can also adjust your browser settings.

I'm fine with this
(One cookie will be set to store your preference)
(Ticking this sets a cookie to hide this popup if you then hit close. This will not store any personal information)
Information and Settings Cookie policy