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2. Hacking Excel’s Built-in Features > 27. Convert Text Numbers to Real Numbers

Convert Text Numbers to Real Numbers

The contents of a cell might look like numbers, especially in imported data, but it still might be impossible to use these numbers in calculations. Here are a few ways in which you easily can convert these “text” numbers to true numbers.

Remember that numbers in Excel are right-aligned by default, and text is left-aligned by default. One easy way to identify those problematic text numbers in a column of what you think is composed entirely of true numbers is to select the column, select Format Cells Alignment, ensure that the horizontal alignment is set to Excel’s default of General, and click OK. Widen the column to a reasonable width, and all true numbers will be aligned to the right while any problematic text numbers will be aligned to the left. Dates will also be aligned to the right, as a date’s true underlying value is nothing more than a number.


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