Saudi Tech Tips: How to Fix Excel Not Auto Calculating

Fix Excel Not Auto

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People often perceive Excel’s formula capabilities as magic because it is a powerful tool. You input a formula, and Excel swiftly calculates the result. This dynamic aspect allows for automatic updates when the underlying data changes. However, Excel may occasionally confound your expectations by not recalculating as you intend.

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When your Excel formulas don’t auto-calculate as expected, several potential causes and solutions should be considered. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore these issues in depth and offer practical remedies.

READ ALSO: How to Use Quick Analysis Tool in Excel

4 Easy Steps To Fix Excel Not Auto Calculating

1. Confirm if Excel Auto Calculation Is Enabled

The most common reason for Excel not to auto-calculate as expected is that the calculation settings for your spreadsheet are set to manual. In manual calculation mode, cells will only calculate when specifically instructed to do so. Therefore, if Excel isn’t auto-calculating, it’s likely due to this setting.

To re-enable auto-calculation in Excel:

  • Open Excel and navigate to the “Formulas” menu.
  • In the “Calculation” section, click “Calculation Options.”
  • Ensure that “Automatic” is selected.
Set calculation options to automatic
Set calculation options to automatic
  • You can access these options through the “File” menu as well. Choose “Options.”
Select the Options tab
Select the Options tab
  • Click on “Formulas,” then make sure you have set “Workbook Calculation” to “Automatic.”
Set workbook calculation options to automatic
Set workbook calculation options to automatic

Revert to automatic calculation before exploring other fixes as the manual calculation mode can obstruct these solutions.

2. Change the Cell Formatting

Excel formulas may fail to calculate if the cell containing the formula is formatted as text. This is a common reason for your formulas not auto-calculating.

To inspect cell formatting in Excel:

  • Choose a cell where auto-calculation is failing.
  • In the “Home” ribbon, verify the “Number Format” in the “Number” section.
Set the format type to Number
Set the format type to Number
  • If you set the “Number Format” to “Text,” click the drop-down and select “General.”
  • Click the “Formula Bar” and select the formula to apply.
Select the formula to apply
Select the formula to apply

Once you’ve resolved the formatting issue, your cells should auto-calculate correctly.

3. Check Your Formulas

Another common reason for Excel formulas not recalculating is leading spaces or apostrophes before the formula. Such characters make Excel treat the entire formula as text, preventing automatic calculation.

To inspect your formula formatting:

  • Select a cell where auto-calculation is not occurring.
  • Look in the “Formula Bar” for any leading apostrophe.
Remove the leading apostrophe
Remove the leading apostrophe
  • If found, click to the right of the apostrophe and press “Backspace” to remove it.
  • Press “Enter,” and the cell should recalculate correctly.

4. Disable the Show Formulas Setting

If your cells display the formulas themselves instead of the formula results, it may be because the “Show Formulas” setting is active. This feature is useful for viewing formulas within cells during spreadsheet creation and troubleshooting.

To disable the “Show Formulas” feature in Excel:

  • Click the “Formulas” menu.
  • In the ribbon, check the “Show Formulas” button. If the button highlights, it indicates that the setting is on.
Click on show formulas
Click on show formulas
  • Click the “Show Formulas” button to toggle it off.

Once disabled, your cells should auto-calculate as expected.


Excel’s formula capabilities can feel like magic, but even magic can go awry. Thanks to the steps outlined above, you can swiftly fix Excel if it fails to auto-calculate formula results.

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