Erika saw an Excel formula that started with: =+

What’s the deal?



People who grew up with Lotus notes got into the habit of starting a formula with ‘+’ and they carried it over to Excel.

What excel does with that is simply add  ‘=’ to the front and you end up with formulae that can look like:


This is drastically different from seeing a double-minus (technically called ‘double unary’) in a formula. The double-unary returns 1 or 0 instead of ‘TRUE’ or ‘FALSE.’

Excel formula with Equals-Plus

An Excel formula that starts with =+ is nothing. It’s an old habit that Lotus Notes users have for starting a formula.

Erika, there’s nothing to worry about. Whether a formula starts with = or =+ the answer is going to be the same. Just keep on movin’ and keep your data clean!

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc