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Making Format Changes

Now that you have mastered Excel basics, it's time to learn the general format categories Excel uses for worksheet data. Table 8.3 describes each of the format categories. Unless you change the default settings, Excel uses the General format for data of all kinds.

Table 8.3. Excel's Fundamental Formats
Format Name Description
General The numeric data has no special formatting and generally appears exactly the way you enter the data.
Number You can set the number of decimal places Excel displays for all numeric values.
Currency Displays a dollar sign and two decimal places for dollar amounts.
Accounting Aligns currency and decimal points in a column.
Date Displays date and time values as values whose formats you can change.
Time Displays only the time portion of a date and time value.
Percentage Displays a percent sign. If you type 50 into the cell, Excel changes your value to 50%. You can set the number of decimal places Excel displays in the percent.
Fraction Displays numbers as fractions (great for stock quotes).
Scientific Uses scientific notation for all numeric values.
Text Formats all data as text. Great for ZIP Codes that are all numbers but that you never use for calculations.
Special Formats ZIP Codes, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.
Custom Lets you define your own cell format. You can decide whether you want to see the plus or minus sign, and you can control the number of decimal places.



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