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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 7.3 describes each of the format categories. Unless you change the default settings, Excel uses the General format for data of all kinds.

Table 7.3. Excel's Fundamental Formats
Format NameDescription
GeneralGenerally appears exactly the way you enter the data with no special formatting for the numeric data.
NumberDisplays for all numeric values with the number of decimal places you set.
CurrencyDisplays a dollar sign and two decimal places for dollar amounts.
AccountingAligns currency and decimal points in a column.
DateDisplays date and time values as values whose formats you can change.
TimeDisplays only the time portion of a date and time value.
PercentageDisplays 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.
FractionDisplays numbers as fractions (great for stock quotes).
ScientificUses scientific notation for all numeric values.
TextFormats all data as text. Great for ZIP Codes that are all numbers but that you never use for calculations.
SpecialFormats ZIP Codes, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.
CustomLets 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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