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Part 3. Using Excel > Task 19 How to Change Number Formats

Task 19 How to Change Number Formats

Numeric values you enter into your worksheets are usually more than just numbers. They represent dollar values, dates, percentages, and other real values. By default, when you enter a number, it's displayed in General format, which is usually just the way you type it. But rather than typing $12.95, you can type just 12.95 and apply a number format to those characters, such as the Currency format. For example, the entry 5.05 can mean different things. If you apply the Currency format, the entry becomes $5.05; if you apply the Percentage format, the entry becomes 505%. In this task, you learn how to change the number format using toolbar buttons and the Format Cells dialog box.

  1. Select the Cell or Range

    Select the cell or range that contains numeric data for which you want to change the formatting.



  2. Click Currency

    To change a format to accounting format (which adds a $, rounds the number to two decimal places, and spaces the $ so that all the dollar signs in the column are aligned), click the Currency Style button on the Formatting toolbar.



  3. Click Percent

    To change a format to percent format (which adds a % and changes the number from a fraction or integer to a percentage value), click the Percent Style button on the Formatting toolbar. (Remember that percent means hundredths, so 0.12 is displayed as 12% , but 12 is displayed as 1200%.)



  4. Click Comma

    To apply comma format (which in the United States means to round the number to two decimal places and add a comma at each thousands mark), click the Comma Style button on the Formatting toolbar. To control the decimal point, you can also click the Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal buttons on the Formatting toolbar.



  5. Use the Format Cells Dialog Box

    To apply formats that aren't available from the Formatting toolbar, choose Format, Cells to open the Format Cells dialog box. Click the Number tab and choose a number format from the Category list. The value in the selected cell is displayed with that format in the Sample area.



  6. Set Format Options

    Different formats in the Format Cells dialog box offer different options; select a Category and set the options for that format. A description of the selected category appears at the bottom of the dialog box. To close the dialog box and apply the new format, click OK.




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