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Formatting Values

Numeric values are usually more than just numbers. They represent a dollar value, a date, a percent, or some other value. If the Style buttons on the Formatting toolbar do not offer the exact format you want for your numbers, don't worry. Through the Format Cells dialog box, Excel offers a wide range of number formats, listed in Table 21.1.

Table 21.1. Excel's Number Formats
Number FormatExamplesDescription
General10.60$456,908.00Excel displays your value as youenter it. In other words, this format displays currency or percent signs only if you enter them yourself.
Number3,400.50–120.39The default Number format has twodecimal places. Negative numbers are preceded by a minus sign, but they can also appear in red and/or parentheses.
Currency$3,400.50–$3,400.50The default Currency format has two decimal places and a dollar sign. Negative numbers appear with a minus sign, but they can also appear in red and/or parentheses.
Accounting$3,400.00$(978.21)Use this format to align dollar signsand decimal points in a column. The default Accounting format has two decimal places and a dollar sign.
Date11/7The default Date format is the month and day separated by a slash; however, you can select from numerous other formats.
Time10:00The default Time format is the hour and minutes separated by a colon; however, you can opt to display seconds, AM, or PM.
Percentage99.50%The default Percentage format has two decimal places. Excel multiplies the value in a cell by 100 and displays the result with a percent sign.
Fraction1/2The default Fraction format is up to one digit on either side of the slash. Use this format to display the number of digits you want on either side of the slash and the fraction type (such as halves, quarters, eighths, and so on).
Scientific3.40E+03The default Scientific format has two decimal places. Use this format to display numbers in scientific notation.
Text135RV90Use Text format to display both text and numbers in a cell as text. Excel displays the entry exactly as you type it.
Special02110This format is specifically designed to display ZIP codes, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers correctly, so that you don't have to enter any special characters, such as hyphens.
Custom00.0%Use Custom format to create your own number format. You can use any of the format codes in the Type list and then make changes to those codes. The # symbol represents a number placeholder, and 0 represents a zero placeholder.



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