Here are the important symbols used in Excel Formulas. Each of these special characters have used for different purpose in Excel. Let us see complete list of symbols used in Excel Formulas, its meaning and uses.

Symbols used in Excel Formula

Following symbols are used in Excel Formula. They will perform different actions in Excel Formulas and Functions.

Symbol Name Description
= Equal to Every Excel Formula begins with Equal to symbol (=).


() Parentheses All Arguments of the Excel Functions specified between the Parentheses.


() Parentheses Expressions specified in the Parentheses will be evaluated first. Parentheses changes the order of the evaluation in Excel Formula.

Example: =25+(35*2)+5

* Asterisk Wild card operator to to denote all values in a List.

Example: =COUNTIF(A1:A5,”*“)

, Comma List of the Arguments of a Function Separated by Comma in Excel Formula.

Example: =COUNTIF(A1:A5,“>” &B1)

& Ampersand Concatenate Operator to connect two strings into one in Excel Formula.

Example: =”Total: “&SUM(B2:B25)

$ Dollar Makes Cell Reference as Absolute in Excel Formula.


! Exclamation Sheet Names and Table Names Followed by ! Symbol in Excel Formula.

Example: =SUM(Sheet2!B2:B25)

[] Square Brackets Uses to refer the Field Name of the Table (List Object) in Excel Formula.


{} Curly Brackets Denote the Array formula in Excel.

Example: {=MAX(A1:A5-G1:G5)}

: Colon Creates references to all cells between two references.

Example: =SUM(B2:B25)

, Comma Union Operator will combine the multiple references into One.

Example: =SUM(A2:A25, B2:B25)

(space) Space Intersection Operator will create common reference of two references.

Example: =SUM(A2:A10 A5:A25)

! Exclamation Mark Reference Operator to Refer Worksheet. For example, you can create a named range mySum =SUM(!$A$1:$D$1). When you type mySum in Sheet1 it sums the A1:D1 of Sheet1 and when you use this in Sheet2, it sums A1:D1 of Sheet2. You can explicitly refer the sheet name as prefixing the sheet name before !. Example :=SUM(Sheet2!$A$1:$D$1), when you use mySum in any sheet, it always Sums the values in Sheet2.


Relative Sheet Reference: mySum =SUM(!$A$1:$D$1)
Absolute Sheet Reference: mySum =SUM(Sheet2!$A$1:$D$1)

+ Plus Arithmetic Operator to perform Addition.

Examples: =A1+B1, will add the values of A1 and B1

Minus Arithmetic Operator to perform Substation.

Examples: =A1-B1, will Subtract the value of B1 from the value of A1

* Asterisk Arithmetic Operator to perform Multiplication.

Examples: =A1*B1, will multiply the value of A1 with B1

/ Forward Slash Arithmetic Operator to perform Division.

Examples: =A1/B1, will divide the value of A1 with B1

^ Caret Arithmetic Operator to perform Exponentiation.

Examples: =A1^B1, will calculate the exponential of A1 to the power of B1

#spill Spill Error Error are returned when a formula returns multiple cells, and Excel cannot return the results to the Range. It is commonly due to the cells are already filled with some other data.

Examples: B1=A1:A5+10, This returns values in 5 cell (B1:B5), if any of the cell is there are any non blank cells in the target Range (B1:B5) then it returns #Spill Error

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  1. Redjen May 31, 2022 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    what is the symbol of average in excel?

    • PNRao June 20, 2022 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      You can use AVERAGE()Function to calculate Average in Excel. If you wants to show the Average Statistical Symbol (x-bar), You can insert from symbols. F7C2 is the Unicode Hexa character for X-bar symbol. Make sure that you have set the Symbol Font :MS Reference Sans Serif.

  2. Tom Pearce September 22, 2022 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I have a workbook, where the original author used an @ sign in front of a function call in a formula. I can find no reference as to what the @ does, or how it is used. Any one know??

    VBA Example: ActiveSheet.Range(“L2”).Formula = “=@CATEGORY($E2,LFC_AreaLU)”
    Note: Category is a User Defined Function in the workbook.

  3. Jane Girard February 9, 2023 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I have this formula, do you know what the al means in the formula ?
    IF(E4=””,””,VLOOKUP(C4,al,5,0)*E4), can

    • PNRao February 27, 2023 at 3:10 am - Reply

      It could be a defined Name or a name of the Table (List Object)

  4. Chris Patterson July 6, 2023 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    The double quotes in the formula you provided are used to represent an empty string

  5. Desmond July 27, 2023 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    What does a white cross symbol mean?

    • PNRao August 2, 2023 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      When you hover on any Cell, Excel shows White Cross Symbol to indicate that you can select the specific Cell/Cells.

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