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Excel Special Characters

Special Characters refer to the keys on your keyboards that aren't letters, numbers, space or control keys.

!@#$%^&*()_=- are examples of special characters. Most of the special characters are above the numbered keys on the keyboard and accessed by pressing the Shift key

In Excel we will first discuss the $ character and then go on to different ones

$



Known as the Dollar sign it is used to represent money, especially money in US Dollars. See Currencies for more information.

The usage of the $:
  • Declaring a string variable, ex. name$
  • Formatting a number to money, ex. "$#,##0.00"
  • Declaring a function to return a string, ex. First_name$
  • Declaring a parameter to a subroutine or a function as string

    = - Equal Sign


    The equal sign appears in a number of places in Excel.
  • Formulas begin with =
  • Can be used to determine equality, i.e. if 2 values are the same, ex. if a = b then
  • Can be used for assignment, ex. a = 1
  • Can be used for parameters but prefixed with a colon :, Sort:=xlAscending
  • used in a for statement, ex. for i = 1 to 20

    # - Hash or Number Sign


    The Hash or Number sign can be used in:
  • Define a number as a double??
  • Excel uses to show the number is too large to fit in column width, ex. ########
  • # is used to denote a number is Double
  • print #1, Line Input #1, ... used for file number in sequential input
  • Number formatting - #,##0.00
  • Date constant #3/21/2021#

    ^ - Hat or Caret

  • 3^2 raise the number 3 to the power of two aka squares the value
  • Ctrl key in a sendkeys or Onkey statement

    + - Plus Sign

  • Addition
  • String Concatenation
  • Shift key in an OnKey or SendKey statment

    * - Asterisk or Star

  • Multiplication sign
  • Wildcard in a Like statement

    / - Forward Slash

  • Division sign
  • Date separator

    . - Period

  • decimal point, ex. 23.7
  • Cents, ex. $15.22
  • Object.method separator
  • Object.property separator
  • .Property or .Method - within a "With - End With" block

    , - Comma

  • formatting for thousands
  • Array separator, ex. a(3,2)
  • Parameter separator, ex. call GetDate(10, 12, 2020)

    ; - Semicolon

  • Ctrl+; generates the date
  • print #1,s; ' don't add linefeed

    : - Colon

  • Used as a range indicator, ex.   A1:C4 - the range of cells from A1 to C4
  • Used with := equal sign to set a parameter
  • Ctrl+: - sets the time
  • used to end a "GoTo label"  label_name:

    < - Less Than Sign

  • Used to test if a < b (a is less than b)
  • <> - Not Equal
  • <= - Less than or equal to

    > - Greater than sign

  • Used to test if a > b (a is greater than b)
  • <> - not equal
  • >= - Greater than or equal to

    ( ) - Parenthesis

  • used to set precedence of calculations. Anything in the inner most parenthesis are calculated first
  • Used for Array reference, ex. a(7)
  • used for defining Sub or Functions, ex. Sub Main()  or Function Sqrt(x)
  • used for Collections, ex. Sheets(3).select or Sheets("Table of contents").select

    - - Dash

  • Minus sign, ex. -5
  • Subtraction, ex. 7 - 2
  • Date separator, ex. 2020-10-15

    _ - Underscore

  • VBA continuation character
  • Separator for variables

    [] - Brackets

  • Used in formulas to specify a file name [c:\temp.xls]sheet2!A2
  • Used in like statement like [a-z]
  • in VBA used to get results of an Excel Formula, ex. a = [=SUBTOTAL(3,B:B)]
  • in VBA from macro recorder Activecell.formulaR1C1 = "=If(RC[-32]=0,0,RC[-10]/RC[-32]


    ' - Single Quote

  • VBA Comment character
  • Formula the value following is text
  • Sheet names that have a space in them, ex. 'This is a sheet'!A2
  • in SQL should be converted to even number of single quotes

    " - Double Quote

  • Used to delineate a string, ex. "this is a string"
  • Use "" two double quotes if string should include the quote, ex. "This is a ""String"""

    \ - Back Slash

  • VBA integer division, ex. 10\3 = 3 where as 10/3 = 3.333333333
  • File seperator c:\temp\fiile.txt
  • network drive \\net\temp\file.txt

    | - Vertical Bar aka Pipe Character



    ? - Question Mark

  • Used as like for files ex. dir("*.xls?")


  • @ - At Sign


    Currency: @

    % - Percent Sign

  • Percent value
  • format character to format number as a percentage
  • Like wildcard for SQL statements

    Integer: %

    & - Ampersand

  • String Concatenation
  • Long variable declaration: &

    ! - Exclamation Point
  • Single: !
  • Used in math as factorial sign but not in VBA
  • Used to separate sheet name from cell in a formula, ex. Sheet2!A2

    &tilda; - Tilda



    Not used

    ` - Left Single Quote



    Use with Ctrl key to toggle spreadsheet from hiding formula in a cell to showing them

    { } - Curly Braces

  • arrays
  • array formulas
  • Sendkeys to enclose a key like {Tab}

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