I was trying to type things in Google Sheets, but I can't find a way for the app not to automatically change some of the things I type.

For example I can enter (-3000) in a cell and nothing happens, but when I try to type (2000), as soon as I click away from the cell, the parentheses are gone. Same thing if I try to type " ' " on its own, it disappears and the cell looks empty, or if it's the first character, let's say I try to type " 'an ", it will render " an ".

Does anyone know why it does that and how to deactivate it, or at least reverse it cell by cell.

1 Answer 1


It's not possible. It's worthy to note that this behavior is the same in other spreadsheet apps like Microsoft Excel.

Cell starting with a = or + are interpreted as formulas. Values starting with ' are interpreted as text values. The default value "conversion" / "formatting" might vary based on the spreadsheet regional setting but the use =, + and ' are the same for all the regional settings. Considering this,

  • If you want to display a ' enter ''
  • If you want to display (2000) you could apply a custom number format or enter '(2000)


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