Indeed I get a rather strange error message if I try this. But there is an obvious work-around for your problem, that works flawlessly with me: replace =12 with =1
You'll immediately recognize that =1*A1 equals =A1, as long as A1 contains a number.
Let me note a good Excel design principle: don't use constants, but use absolute cell reference. So don't write =12*A1 but =$Z$1*A1 and put 12 in Z1. Then the whole operation would have been trivial: replace the 12 in Z1 with 1.
I have a formula in Excel 2002, (well several '000 of them) which begin =12* (cell reference) and I want to edit replace =12* with =
The * character is causing me problems, how can I do this?