Format text in cells
The ability to format the text in a cell from within the cell itself. As an example suppose that I want to have x raised to the 2 power, I can highlight the 2 and make it a superscript to have it in a nice format. However if the 2 were linked to a cell, then I combine the two cells I will get X2, if the cell is then changed to a 3 I get X3 and not x superscript 3. If there were a command that was something like Format(B3,"Superscript") this would be extremely useful. Also the ability to access all of the text formatting options from the formatting command, something like Format(B3,"Bold","Underline",Superscript")
Michael Bryson commented
This above all!
There are some work arounds that are extremely tedious and not always complete:
1) Write a macro that types in the formula for you (macros have the ability to set the exact font you want). However you either have to manually run the macro every time OR you have to have the macros run automatically whenever a cell changes (this might lead to some hiccups)
2) Write a macro that shows/hides formulas or cells or rows, etc. This wouldn't work efficiently for the OP's purpose but I have used this to display different formulas and keep the font.
3) There are certain system fonts that have different symbols in them including superscripts and subscripts, Greek letters, and math operations. E.g. if you open the Character Map in Windows you will see that Times New Roman font has many of these symbols. You can copy and paste these directly into any cell in excel and it will stay as that symbol even when used as part of an excel formula. The problem is that, in some bizarre reasoning, there does not exist a font that has a complete set of subscript and superscript characters. For example, Times New Roman only has about half of the letters of the alphabet available as subscripts and none of them are capitalised. We have wingding fonts and fonts with emojis in them but no font has the subscript "f"! So this will work in only a limited number of cases.
Jon Wittwer commented
Excellent suggestion. You could also modernize the formatting options by using css-style formatting syntax. For example:
Using css-style formatting syntax (or a syntax that was easily translated to css) would make it able to be compatible with Excel online.
Superscript could be done with css (via vertical-align:top and font-size:0.75em).
For that matter, why stop at just font formatting? You could create a function like =FORMATCELL("css-syntax") that would format the background color and cell borders as well (making sure to allow cell border width, not just color). If you wanted the cell to contain a formula, then allow FORMATCELL to have the syntax =FORMATCELL(formula,"css-syntax"). That would be awesome!
Oh, and while we're at it, how about a new TEXT function that allows you to specify custom number formats such as "[red]0.00;[color10]-0.00;0;@"
Bill Jelen commented
I've been struggling with this problem since 1998.