HELP! stuck excel cell formula I cant get rid of

Copper Contributor

Hi - I'm no excel guru - was doing a cut/paste of a few hundred rows of data, and somehow hit a wrong key(s), and now can't get rid of this weird formula I inadvertently created, which has my spreadsheet locked up. Hitting delete or backspace does nothing.


The formula at the top of my excel spreadsheet displays this:  


421 is the very top row in the section I was highlighting,

and G656 was the very first cell I started to highlight.

52.45 is the value in that cell


Any help someone can provide so that I can get back to my project is SINCERELY appreciated.

THANK YOU in advance!



20 Replies


Could you attach a copy of the workbook, without sensitive data?

Hi Hans Vogelaar, thank you for reaching out. There is no sensitive data in the spreadsheet, so I hope these screenshots will suffice. First image is from the spreadsheet I was working on when things locked up. Second image shows the different circular reference in the formula bar of the 2nd spreadsheet








I'm afraid a screenshot doesn't help.

Apologize if the image quality is fuzzy. To your request of sending a copy of the file - I am unable to do anything with either file. Almost all functions are disabled, including copy/paste. I can't even open another new excel spreadsheet. When I try to do any of these things I get "There is a problem with this formula" error message. I've tried putting an apostrophe in front of the formula as suggested to try & fix the formula, but that's as far as I can get. And I wasn't trying to create a formula at all. Just ended up with me mistakenly hitting 1 or more keys on the keyboard when I was trying to cut/paste
Pretty much the only function available is scrolling up or down in the files. Any suggestions?
Under Formula's tab, it appears I now have everything but "Calculations" features available
Scratch that - just the "Function Library" features are available
I have no ability to open "File" tab at all - that's when I get that previously noted Excel error message


If you cannot attach the workbook there is nothing I can do for you. Sorry!

The same exact thing happened to me. Did anyone figure out how to fix this?


Try opening the file in safe mode:







@tmlmyusername this happened to me as well! I went under the Formulas tab, clicked on "Recently Used" and chose Sum. It then let me put in numbers to add. Once I hit OK, it changed the stuck formula to a sum formula and I was then able to delete it and unfreeze my spreadsheet. Hope this works for you, too!

@ricekrispiesde   Thank you so much for this helpful solution.  I just went searching for a fix and your suggestion was easy and functional.  Something in my file makes it happen when I sort, not sure what the glitch is, but it is very frustrating.

That's literally the lamest excuse I have ever heard. So you have never seen this happen before? The guy cannot get out of whatever he got himself into, the program won't let him delete the contents of the cell and you can't figure it out.

I am having the exact same problem. It's ridiculous that supposed experts can't identify a problem from its description or a screenshot. He SAID if he could send you the workbook he would. But he can't. Because once Excel gets caught in this loop, it won't let you do anything. That's the issue.
THAT worked. Good to see someone has it figured out before the "experts."
Thank you!!! I was about to give up and restart the whole work book. This was so helpful.
thanks this worked perfectly!


I clicked on formulas and over towards the right there is a "Show formulas" option.  Click that and it goes back to normal. For me anyway it did.

This was so helpful! I was so sure I would end up losing a whole lot of work. Pretty ridiculous that the "experts" gave up so quickly, but very grateful that you knew what to do! Thank you!