HELP! stuck excel cell formula I cant get rid of

Occasional 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!



13 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.