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3.1 Cell formulas

To insert a value into a cell, simply type a numeric expression, ‘"double-quoted text"’, or a Lisp expression.


Self-insert a digit (ses-read-cell).


Self-insert a negative number (ses-read-cell).


Self-insert a fractional number (ses-read-cell).


Self-insert a quoted string. The ending double-quote is inserted for you (ses-read-cell).


Self-insert an expression. The right-parenthesis is inserted for you (ses-read-cell). To access another cell’s value, just use its identifier in your expression. Whenever the other cell is changed, this cell’s formula will be reevaluated. While typing in the expression, you can use M-TAB to complete symbol names.

' (apostrophe)

Enter a symbol (ses-read-symbol). SES remembers all symbols that have been used as formulas, so you can type just the beginning of a symbol and use SPC, TAB, and ? to complete it.

To enter something else (e.g., a vector), begin with a digit, then erase the digit and type whatever you want.


Edit the existing formula in the current cell (ses-edit-cell).

C-c C-c

Force recalculation of the current cell or range (ses-recalculate-cell).

C-c C-l

Recalculate the entire spreadsheet (ses-recalculate-all).