Available Number Formats in Excel


You can apply different formats to numbers to change how they appear. Although, it is important to know that the formats only change how the numbers are displayed. In effect, the values are left unchanged. For example:

If you want a number to show as currency, you’d click the cell with the number value > Currency.

Available number formats

Applying a number format only changes how the number is displayed. However, it doesn’t affect cell values that’s used to perform calculations. Additionally, you can see the actual value in the formula bar.

View of a number value in the function bar

Here’s a list of available number formats and how you can use them in Excel for the web:


Firstly, this is the default number format. Yet, if the cell is too narrow to display the full number, this format rounds the number. For example, 25.76 shows as 26. Also, if the number is 12 or more digits, General format displays the value with scientific (exponential) notation.

a number value shows as exponential when it is twelve digits or more


Works similarly like the General format. However, it varies with presenting numbers with decimal place separators and negative numbers. Here are some examples of how both formats display numbers:

sample of how numbers appear with different formats like Number and General formats.


Shows a monetary symbol with numbers. Furthermore, you can specify the number of decimal places with Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal.

increase or decrease decimal places on number formatting


Also used for monetary values. But it aligns the currency symbols and decimal points of numbers in a column.

Short Date

Only shows date in this format:

short date format

Long Date

In contrast to Short Date, it shows month, day and year in this format:

Long date format


Shows number date and time serial numbers as time values.


Multiplies the cell value by 100 and presents the result with a percent (%) symbol. You can also use Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal. These allow you to specify the number of decimal places you want.

increase or decrease decimal places on number formatting


Shows the number as a fraction. For example, 0.5 displays as ½.


Displays numbers in exponential notation, replacing part of the number with E+n. This is where E (Exponent) multiplies the former number by 10 to the nth power. For example, a 2-decimal Scientific format displays 12345678901 as 1.23E+10. This simply means 1.23 times 10 to the 10th power. Apply Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal to state how many decimal places you want to use.


Automatically believes the cell value is text and displays it exactly as you type it, despite n when you type numbers. Learn more about formatting numbers as text.

Need more help?

Here are some ways to answer your queries and/or alternatively, recommend a new feature or more efficient approach:

Firstly, you can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community;

Secondly, get support in the Answers community or;

Finally, you can even advise a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Format numbers as currency in Excel

Format numbers

This information was compiled using information courtesy of © Microsoft 2020. All rights reserved.


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