Excel Problem: Cell Shows #####

Sometimes, you may type a formula into Excel, and when you press return, your cell simply shows #####, instead of a meaningful value.

Excel Cell Displaying #####

Possible Reason No. 1

This problem most commonly occurs because the cell is not wide enough to display the value that it has calculated.


Excel Alter Column Width

This problem is easily solved, by altering the cell width. The easiest way to do this is to drag the bar (shown in the above image on the right) until the cell is wider.

Possible Reason No. 2

If Excel continues to display a string of # symbols, no matter how wide you make your column, it is likely that Excel is attempting to display the contents of the cell as a date or time, but the cell contains a negative value.

As dates and times are stored as positive numeric values within Excel, a negative value is an invalid date or time. Excel shows this by filling the cell with # symbols.


If the cell is meant to contain a date or time, check your formulas - you should not have a negative date or time.

If the cell is not meant to contain a date or time, change the formatting of the cell.

To change the cell formatting :

  1. Highlight the cell(s)
  2. Right click with the mouse
  3. Select the Format Cells ... option and ensure the Number tab is selected
  4. Under the Category heading, select the option General (or any other required formatting type) and click OK

Read more about Excel Dates and Times