# Display numbers as percentages

This article explains how to display numbers as percentages in Excel 2007. However, it doesn't cover techniques for calculating percentages. To learn how to calculate values, such as sales tax for a certain amount or a percent change in sales between two fiscal quarters, see Calculate percentages.

## How Excel 2007 handles percentages

Although formatting numbers as percentages is straightforward, the results you get after applying the format may vary, depending on whether the numbers already exist in your workbook.

• Formatting cells that contain numbers    If you apply the Percentage format to existing numbers in a workbook, Excel multiplies those numbers by 100 to convert them to percentages. For example, if a cell contains the number 10, Excel multiplies that number by 100, which means that you will see 1000.00% after you apply the Percentage format. This may not be what you expected. To accurately display percentages, before you format the numbers as a percentage, make sure that they have been calculated as percentages, and that they are displayed in decimal format. Percentages are calculated by using the equation amount / total = percentage. For example, if a cell contains the formula =10/100, the result of that calculation is 0.1. If you then format 0.1 as a percentage, the number will be correctly displayed as 10%. To learn more about calculating percentages, see Calculate percentages.

• Formatting empty cells    Numbers that you type into cells after you apply the Percentage format to those cells are treated differently. Numbers equal to and larger than 1 are converted to percentages by default; and numbers smaller than 1 are multiplied by 100 to convert them to percentages. For example, typing 10 or 0.1 both result in 10.00%. (If you don't want to display the two zeros after the decimal point, it's easy to get rid of them, as explained in the following procedure.)

## Display numbers as percentages

To quickly apply percentage formatting to selected cells, click Percent Style in the Number group on the Home tab, or press CTRL+SHIFT+%. If you want more control over the format, or you want to change other aspects of formatting for your selection, you can use the following procedure.

1. Select the cells that you want to format.

How to select cells, ranges, rows, or columns

Tip: To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

1. On the Home tab, click the Dialog Box Launcher next to Number.

2. In the Format Cells dialog box, in the Category list, click Percentage.

3. In the Decimal places box, enter the number of decimal places that you want to display. For example, if you want to see 10% instead of 10.00%, enter 0 in the Decimal places box.

## Tips for displaying percentages

• To reset the number format of selected cells, click General in the Category list. Cells that are formatted with the General format have no specific number format.

• If you want negative percentages to stand out—for example, you want them to appear in red—you can create a custom number format (Format Cells dialog box, Number tab, Custom category). The format should resemble the following: 0.00%;[Red]-0.00%. When applied to cells, this format displays positive percentages in the default text color and negative percentages in red. The portion that follows the semicolon represents the format that is applied to a negative value.

Similarly, you can display negative percentages in parentheses by creating a custom format that looks something like this: 0.00%_);(0.00%). For more information on creating custom formats, see Create or delete a custom number format.

• You can also use conditional formatting (Home tab, Styles group, Conditional Formatting) to customize the way negative percentages appear in your workbook. The conditonal formatting rule you create should be similar to the one shown in the following example. This particular rule instructs Excel to apply a format (red text) to a cell if the cell value is less than zero. For more information about conditional formatting, see Add, change, or clear conditional formats.

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