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Build custom numeric formats

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Excel has many built-in numeric formats you can use, or you can build your own.

  1. Right-click the column header, and then select Format Cells.

    Or, select a column, and then select Home > Number.

    The Format Cells dialog box opens, with the Number tab selected by default.

    Note: You can also press Ctrl + 1 to open the Format Cells dialog box.

  2. In Category, select Custom.

  3. In Type, select an existing format.

    Or, type a new format in the Type box, to create one.

  4. Select OK.

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Guidelines for organizing and formatting data on a worksheet

There could be times when you have a certain look in mind.

Some of these might be like what we're seeing in columns E and G here.

Let's first take a look at column B though.

Maybe your company uses an ID number, and for years, the scheme you've used is, because it's a seven-digit number, it's gonna be easier to read if we put a dash in after the third character, between the third and fourth characters there.

So, let's create a format for this. Column B is selected.

We go to Format Cells. I'll right click and go to Format Cells.

Remember, Ctrl+1 works also. And we can go immediately to Custom.

Now, if yo start to scroll through this list, you'll probably gonna be a little bit overwhelmed.

It is not important to understand every single one of these.

Some of the larger books on Excel go into great detail about what these different symbols mean.

Many times what you'll do if you're looking for a particular kind of format is maybe take an existing one and make a change or two to it.

Let's say we wanted to put in a dash here. You wouldn't necessarily know this, but I'm going to type first of all, three zeros. That serves as a placement holder for numbers.

So we want the codes in column B to consist of three numbers, then a dash, and then four numbers, four zeros.

Keep an eye on column B as I click OK.

And there's our scheme. Once I adjust the column width, there we go, by double clicking that right boundary.

So, as in the previous example, you might have seen in other movies here, we don't actually type the dash, we just type the number.

So maybe that number is just dead wrong.

I'm gonna put in the number code here. 456, and then 3421. I'm just typing those numbers.

Press Enter.

There is the dash that we want.

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