Delain asks a great question. (Paraphrased) Why do some of my colleagues worksheet formulas start with a ‘+’?
The first spreadsheet that I used was called SuperCalc. I don’t remember much about that program other than I knew that I would have a long love affair with spreadsheets. (Any wonder I became an accountant?)
After SuperCalc, I moved to Lotus 1-2-3 v. 1A. I’m not what you would call an “early adopter.” I stuck with 1-2-3 through the first few versions of Excel (and many later versions of 1-2-3). I started using Excel with Excel97 and haven’t looked back since.
But enough about me. In Lotus 1-2-3, you start formulas with the plus sign and worksheet functions with the @ sign. You won’t see the @ sign in front of any worksheet functions, but you still may see a plus sign that seems superfluous. In Excel, of course, all formulas start with the equal sign (=).
Excel still support this 1-2-3 method of entering formulas. For instance, type this into a cell
and you’ll get =+A1
Type @SUM(A1:A3) and Excel converts it to =SUM(A1:A3)
If you see a plus sign that seems unnecessary, it’s either a file that started back in 1-2-3, or was created by a user who’s stuck in the past.