I have a spreadsheet with a very simple formula: =C4/D4 Sometimes, this very simple formula gives the wrong value. Same Formula, Two Answers

  • Cell C4 contains the value 390062 formatted as a number with thousands separator

  • Cell D4 contains a formula which evaluates to the value 444434 formatted as a number with thousands separator.

    • This is a =VLOOKUP() formula and the displayed value is correct.
  • Cell G4 contain the formula =C4/D4 which is displayed as 28%

    • This is INCORRECT! The correct value is 88%
  • If I add the same formula in Cell J4 I get the correct value.

  • Result for =VALUE(G4) is 0.28

  • Result for =VALUE(J4) is 0.88


  • If I change the formatting on cell G4, it updates to the correct value.

EDIT: I might have figured this out; cell C4 is part of a Pivot Table. Is that why it's not calculating correctly? If so, does anyone have a solve for this?

  • Welcome to Web Applications Stack Exchange. One thing to check is that File > Settings > Calculation > Iterative calculation is off. Apr 4, 2023 at 20:10
  • Consider sharing a publicly editable sample spreadsheet. There is a blank sheet maker that lets you share safely. Apr 5, 2023 at 8:13
  • Thanks doubleunary! I tried both with Iterative Calculation enabled and disabled - both end with same result. Apr 5, 2023 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


The structure of a pivot table may change from time to time depending on things like sort order and labels, causing cell locations to vary.

To get a particular pivot table aggregate value regardless of which cell it happens to be, use the getpivotdata() function.

To get a particular non-aggregate value, query the data table rather than the pivot table, using query(), filter() or vlookup().

  • Thanks doubleunary! GetPivotData seems to be what I need! Apr 5, 2023 at 12:55

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