Format numbers

Apply number formats like dates, currency, or even fractions to cells in a worksheet. For example, if you’re working on your quarterly budget, you can use the Currency number format to show your numbers as money. Or if you have a column of dates, you can set whether you want the dates to show up as March 14, 2012, 14-Mar-12, or 3/14.

  1. Select the cells you want to format.

  2. Press CTRL+1.

  3. In the Format Cells box, click the Number tab.

  4. Pick the number format you want, and then choose specific changes to the format on the right.

Format Cells dialog box

Tip:  Do you have numbers showing up in your cells as #####? This probably means your cell isn’t wide enough to show the whole number. Try double-clicking the right border of the column that contains the cells with #####. This will resize the column to fit the number. You can also drag the right border of the column to make it any size you want.

Stop your numbers from autoformatting

Sometimes when you type numbers into a cell, or import them from another data source, Excel formats those numbers incorrectly. For example, if you type a number with a slash mark (/) or hyphen (-), Excel might think you’re typing a date and apply a Date format. To stop this from happening, you need to apply the Text format to the cells, and then enter your numbers.

  1. Select the cells you want to format.

  2. Press CTRL+1.

  3. On the Number tab, in the Format list, click Text.

Save as Text in the Format Cells dialog box

Need more help formatting numbers?

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