How to Show Formulas in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Showing formulas in Google Sheets is a quick and easy process. Simply press Ctrl + ~ (the key above the Tab button on most keyboards), and all formulas in the spreadsheet will be displayed. Press the same keys to revert back to showing the results of the formulas. Now, let’s dive into why this feature is helpful and how to use it effectively.

After completing this action, all the cells with formulas will show the formula instead of the result. This is particularly useful when you need to review or debug your formulas.


When working with Google Sheets, formulas are the powerhouse that drive the data manipulation and calculations within your spreadsheets. Whether you’re a data analyst crunching numbers, a teacher grading assignments, or a small business owner keeping track of expenses, understanding how to effectively manage and display formulas in Google Sheets can save you time and headaches.

But why is it so important to know how to show formulas? Simply put, displaying formulas allows you to see the inner workings of your spreadsheet. This visibility can be crucial when you’re trying to troubleshoot a stubborn error, understand a complex calculation created by someone else, or simply want to ensure the integrity of your data processing. It’s a feature that’s relevant to anyone who uses Google Sheets, from beginners to advanced users.

How to Show Formulas in Google Sheets Tutorial

Before we jump into the steps, know that by the end of this tutorial, you will be able to reveal all formulas in your Google Sheets document, making it easier to review and edit them.

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Open the Google Sheet that contains the formulas you want to display.

This initial step is straightforward but essential. Ensure you have the correct document open to avoid any confusion with other spreadsheets.

Step 2: Use the Keyboard Shortcut

Press Ctrl + ~ on your keyboard.

This keyboard shortcut is the fastest way to toggle the display of formulas in Google Sheets. The ~ key is typically found to the left of the 1 key at the top of your keyboard.

Step 3: Toggle Back if Needed

Press Ctrl + ~ again to toggle back to display the results of the formulas.

If you want to revert to viewing the cell results instead of the formulas, simply use the same shortcut. It’s a toggle function, so it’ll switch back and forth with ease.


Benefit Explanation
Increased Transparency Showing formulas in Google Sheets increases transparency by allowing you to see exactly what calculations are being performed in each cell. This can help you understand the data better and identify any potential errors.
Facilitates Collaboration When working with a team, displaying formulas makes it easier for everyone to follow the logic behind the data. This facilitates better collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Streamlines Troubleshooting and Error Checking If a cell is not displaying the expected result, showing the formula can help you troubleshoot and find errors quickly, saving you time and frustration.


Drawback Explanation
Can Be Overwhelming for Large Spreadsheets If you have a sheet heavy with formulas, displaying them all at once can be overwhelming and may make it difficult to focus on the formulas you’re interested in.
Potential for Accidental Edits With formulas on display, there’s a higher chance you might accidentally edit a formula, which could lead to errors if not noticed.
May Reveal Sensitive Logic If your formulas contain sensitive business logic or personal data, displaying them could inadvertently reveal information you prefer to keep hidden.

Additional Information

Understanding how to show formulas in Google Sheets is just the start. There are a few additional tips that can enhance your experience. For instance, did you know you can also view a formula for a specific cell without displaying all formulas? Just click on the cell, and the formula will appear in the formula bar at the top of your screen. This can be handy when you want to inspect or edit a single formula without the clutter of revealing all formulas in the sheet.

Also, keep in mind that showing formulas is different from printing them. If you need to print your formulas, you’ll have to use the Show formulas option in the print settings. This feature ensures that when you print your document, the formulas will be visible on the paper, not just the results.

Lastly, be mindful of the fact that while you can show formulas in Google Sheets, this feature does not exist in all spreadsheet software. If you’re collaborating with users of other programs, ensure that they are aware of how to achieve similar functionality in their respective applications.


  1. Open your Google Sheet.
  2. Press Ctrl + ~ to display formulas.
  3. Press Ctrl + ~ again to toggle back to results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I show formulas in just one specific range of cells?

You cannot display formulas in a specific range using a shortcut. The shortcut shows or hides formulas for the entire sheet. However, you can manually click on individual cells to view their formulas in the formula bar.

Will showing formulas affect how my sheet calculates data?

No, showing formulas does not affect the calculations. It only changes how the data is displayed on your screen.

Can I edit formulas while they are displayed?

Yes, you can edit formulas directly in the cells while they are displayed.

Is there a way to print the sheet with formulas showing?

Yes, when printing your sheet, choose the ‘Show formulas’ option in the print settings to print the document with visible formulas.

What if the Ctrl + ~ shortcut doesn’t work?

If the shortcut doesn’t work, check your keyboard settings to ensure the ~ key is functioning correctly. You can also try using the Google Sheets menu: go to View > Show formulas.


Mastering how to show formulas in Google Sheets is a game-changer for anyone who relies on spreadsheets to manage data. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that enhances transparency, collaboration, and accuracy in your work. Remember that while this feature provides many benefits, it’s also essential to be mindful of the few drawbacks, such as the risk of accidental edits or overwhelming information. Keep these tips and tricks in mind, and you’ll navigate your spreadsheets like a pro. So, go ahead, give it a try, and watch your productivity soar!

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