Excel Formula: Auto insert "=" when minus "-" is the first character in the cell

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Excel Formula: Auto insert "=" when minus "-" is the first character in the cell
Is there an Option to prevent the insert of the equal sign in the cell that has a lead character minus "-" in the cell?
I imported a text to Excel "-2.65%-6.32%" into the cell then excel change it to "=-2.65%-6.32%" then it becomes a formula which I do not want. How do I overcome this? Tried many File->Options->Advance selections and none work to prevent the equal sign insertion.
Appreciate any suggestion from MicroSoft or anyone.

2 Replies

@gng2930yahoocom How exactly do you import? Excel tries to be smart of its own if you are not explicit about what YOU want it to do in such cases. In your specific example it succeeded to make a formula of the text and assumed you want it that way.


Rather than just opening the TXT (or CSV) file by clicking on it, try to import it with Power Query (Data, From Text/CSV) or the legacy text import wizard (Data, Get Data, Legacy Wizards, From Text). In the latter option, it's important that you set the data type for the column that contains the texts you described to Text in step 3 of the wizard.


How do you exactly import? Tried two ways: 1) Data->Existing Connections {which routes thru my directory to find my ".txt" file & ask for structure specifics}.   2) Word.doc Highlight copy/paste to Excel; In both method the data imports to cells correctly.  However, like you say, that Excel acts too smart, which is commendable.

.... But Microsoft should provide a selectable option to not change or modify the contents of the cells at the File->Option->Advanced->check choices.

FYI, the data imports are the Institution Ownership changes which may have negative numbers for current and previous quarters and they collude together without delimiters in the extracted reports.

..... Thank you for your suggestion. I'll look into your method after my brain recover from exhaustion.