Tom’s Tutorials For Excel: Putting Comments In Formulas With The N Function
You can add a text notation to a worksheet formula by using the N function. This is useful when you want to look at a formula and know something about it by reading actual descriptive words.
In the picture, the formula in cells E4:E7 multiply counts of widgets by their unit cost. The basic formula is simple, in that column C and column D are being multiplied. But with the N function, you can add words to the formula to help tell you about the calculation. A real advantage is when formulas refer to ranges on other worksheets, and it’s easier to read the formula’s N function notes than to activate another worksheet to remind yourself what cell or range is involved.
The N function converts a value to a numeric value by coercing it as either a Boolean TRUE (1) or FALSE (0). Because a text string is not a number, the text is coerced to a numeric zero (0 being the boolean equivalent of FALSE). Therefore, a zero added to a calculated number will still equal that calculated number, hence the text within the N function has no effect on the calculation.