In Excel, you have a choice of available number formats within cells. This includes data types such as currency, percentages, dates, or phone numbers.
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- Firstly, choose a cell/cell range.
- Next, select Number from the drop-down, coming from the Home tab.
How to Choose Number Formats
- Alternatively, you can follow one of these options:
- Press CTRL + 1 and click Number.
- Right-click the cell or cell range, choose Format Cells…, then press Number.
- Click the dialogue box launcher next to Number. After this, press Number.
- Finally, decide the format you want.
To see all available number formats, select the Dialogue Box Launcher next to the Number. This is found on Home in the Number group.
There are several key elements to consider before using this number format:
Firstly, the default number format that Excel applies when you type a number.
Secondly, for the most part, numbers that are formatted with the General format are displayed just the way you type them. However, if the cell is too narrow to show the entire number, the General format rounds the numbers with decimals.
More importantly, the General number format also uses scientific (exponential) notation for large numbers (12 or more digits).
Used for the general display of numbers. You can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use. Therefore, depending on the units of your numbers, you have two options:
- You can either use a thousands separator; or
- Display negative numbers in a specific way.
This gives you the benefit of including data in its most basic form without having to enter the whole number. Plus, you can emphasise negative numbers by presenting them on a key within a graph for clarity and simple comparison to yourself and other people.
Used for general monetary values and displays the basic currency symbol with numbers. With this format, you can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use. With this capability, you can decide if you want to use a thousands separator, and how you want to display negative numbers. From this, you can guarantee full and complete data accuracy which saves you time from carefully checking that each number is correct.
Also used for monetary values. But, it aligns the currency symbols and decimal points of numbers in a column.
Displays date and time serial numbers as date values. This is based on your defined type and locale (location). Date formats that begin with an asterisk (*) respond to changes in regional date and time settings. These refer to those that are set in Control Panel. Although, formats without an asterisk are not affected by Control Panel settings.
Displays date and time serial numbers as time values. This is according to the type and locale (location) that you specify. Time formats that begin with an asterisk (*) respond to changes in regional date and time settings. These include those which are set out in Control Panel. However, formats without an asterisk are not affected by Control Panel settings.
Multiplies the cell value by 100. Then, it displays the result with a percent (%) symbol. Also, you can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use.
Displays a number as a fraction. This is according to the type of fraction that you specify.
Displays a number in exponential notation. It replaces some of the number with E+n. In this context, where E (which stands for Exponent) multiplies the previous number by 10 to the nth power. For example, a 2-decimal Scientific format displays 12345678901 as 1.23E+10. This means that 1.23 times 10 to the 10th power. In addition, you can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use.
Treats the content of a cell as text. It also displays the content exactly as you type it. This even applies when you type numbers.
Displays a number as a postal code (ZIP Code), phone number, or Social Security Number.
Allows you to edit a copy of a current number format code.
Use this format to create a custom number format. This must be one that is added to the list of number format codes.
You can add between 200 and 250 custom number formats.
This will be determined by the language version of Excel that is installed on your computer. To get much more information about custom formats, see Create or delete a custom number format.
Need more help?
Refer to the following resources below:
- Firstly, you can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community;
- Next, get support in the Answers community; or
- Alternatively, suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.