# Thread: + and - signs before cell references in formulas

1. ## + and - signs before cell references in formulas

What exactly do extra + and - signs mean in before cell references in formulas such as the one that I have posted here (besides regular addition and subtraction). I've seen them before in other formulas, but aren't sure what they mean.

Here is the scenario:

At the top of the worksheet are 4 cells: D3 is the Principal Amount, D4 is the Interest Rate, D5 is the Term in Months, and then F4 is the PMT function doing the monthly payment calculation. In the rows below it, the month number is in cell B11, the beginning principal balance is in C11, the Interest Paid is in cell D11, which is what the formula below is calculating.
=IF(+B11<=\$D\$5,+C11*(\$D\$4/12),0)
The monthly payment is being done with =PMT(D4/12,D5,-D3).

What do the extra + and - symbols mean in both of these formulas?

2. ## Re: + and - signs before cell references in formulas

Hi,
Who actually entered the formulae in the first place? As I recall, there are some spreadsheet programs that required a + before a cell reference but Excel does not so they are unnecessary. The - signs simply change the sign of the value in the relevant cell.
Hope that helps.

3. ## Re: + and - signs before cell references in formulas

In the cases you gave, it has the same affect as if you put a zero in front of the plus or minus sign. In the case of the plus sign, 0+B11 is the same as B11 and having the plus sign there does nothing. In the case of the minus sign, 0-D3 changes the sign of the value in cell D3 before it is used. If D3 contains a 3, then the value used in the calculation is -3. If D3 contains -3, then the value used in the calculation is +3.

4. ## Re: + and - signs before cell references in formulas

I too have seen this practice -- primarily used in spreadsheets I've seen built by people in our finance or finance related areas. Is there some convention to adding the redundant (in my opinion) '+'s in front of a number or cell reference?

5. ## Re: + and - signs before cell references in formulas

It's a Lotus habit. Annoys me, and I spent 7 years on 123 and Symphony!

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