How to Show Formulas in Google Sheets (instead of the value)

Google Sheets is a really powerful spreadsheet tool because of all the awesome formulas it has.

When you enter a formula in a cell in Google Sheets and hit the Enter/Return key, Google Sheets would instantly calculate the result of the formula and show you the result in the cell.

But sometimes, you may not want to show the result of the formula but show the formula instead.

If you’re thinking why, I often use this when I have to show the formula result, but at the same time I also have to show the formula that I used to get the value.

In this tutorial, I will show you a couple of ways to show formula instead of the value in a cell in Google Sheets (and in case you’re already seeing it, then how to hide the formulas and show the formula result).

So let’s get started!

Show Formulas instead of Value in the Entire Sheet

Believe it or not, Google Sheets have a straight forward method to simply show all the formulas in the sheet.

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below, where there is a formula in cells in Column D

Dataset with formula

Below are the steps to show all the formulas in column D (instead of the formula results):

  1. Click the View option in the menuClick the view tab
  2. Click on Show formulas optionClick on Show formulas option

That’s it! The above steps would instantly show all the formulas in the entire sheet.

Formula being shown instead of the value

This option work as a toggle. If you repeat the same steps and click on the Show formulas option again, it will hide the formulas and start showing the resulting values.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control ` to show all the formulas (hold the Control key and then press the ` key). It works as a toggle, so when you use it once, it will show all the formulas and if you use it again, it will hide the formula show the values.

One thing to remember when using this method is that it will show the formulas in all the cells in the worksheet. If you want to only show the formulas in a few cells, use the next method.

Show formula instead of Value in Specific Cells

If you only want the formulas in a few cells to be shown as text (instead of the entire sheet), you need to manually change the content of the cell.

Simply add an apostrophe right before the formula (the equal to sign).

When you add an apostrophe at the beginning in a cell, it forces Google Sheets to consider the entire cell content as text. So instead of calculating the value, it simply shows the formula.

Also, note that the apostrophe symbol gets hidden, so you only see the formula.

In the below dataset, the first three cells in column D have an apostrophe at the beginning (which you can see in the formula bar but not in the cell itself.

show formula by adding an apostrophe at the beginning

If you want to hide the formula in these cells and show the formula result again, simply remove the apostrophe symbol from the beginning.

So these are two methods you can use to show formula instead of value in Google Sheets.

Hope you found this tutorial useful!

Other Google Sheets tutorials you may like:

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