I am having a problem when importing a table from Excel to Indesign.

I am getting errors when there is a formula behind text in the table. If the formula results in a number, the number is imported and there is no problem....but if the formula results in text, the cell will be blank or a '-1' appears.

Does anyone know how to get around this?

  • 2
    Try to make the values static before the export.
    – Joonas
    Jan 8, 2021 at 17:13
  • I always merely copy in Excel and paste in InDesign. The copied data pastes as static values, not the formulas, it's merely when importing that the formulas can be transferred.
    – Scott
    Feb 2, 2022 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Paste as values

In Excel, select all the data and copy it. Then paste it as values:

Paste as Values illustration

You can also get there by selecting the drop down under the Clipboard section of the Home ribbon:

Paste as values from the home ribbon

You want to paste right over the top of the cells you're copying, essentially overwriting their content and converting your data from formulas to the result of the calculated formulas.

In other words, the cells currently might contain =1+1 and show 2 but by pasting as values, the content of the cell will actually be just 2.

Once you've done this, you can bring it into InDesign to work with and it won't go wonky on you.

By the way, this works in Google Sheets, too. You use the right click context menu and go to Paste Special > Paste Values or the dropdown menu Edit > Paste Special > Paste Values.

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