Excel not recognizing formulas

New Contributor

This has been happening for a while.  I am unable to use formulas in Excel.  I have the fields set to GENERAL and I am trying to get the first 5 of a zip code using =LEFT(A1,5) but I get an error anytime I try to use a formula (cannot VLOOKUP).  The error basically says "there was a problem with your formula. If you are not trying to type a formula add a ' in the front of the = sign"  There is no help for what to do if I actually AM trying to write a formula.  I have looked in Options in the formulas section and Automatic Workbook Calculations are on.

2 Replies


Perhaps you shall use semicolon instead of comma. If you open attached file does formula work?

Unfortunately, no it did not. I am able to use formulas on Office365 via a browser, so I can just stick with that. Thanks