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Chapter 20. Advanced Worksheet Formatting > How Cell Formatting Works

How Cell Formatting Works

In an Excel worksheet, what you see in a cell is not necessarily what's stored in that cell. If you enter a formula (page 502), for example, Excel stores the formula but displays its result. When entering numbers, dates, and text, you can go as quickly as you want, without too much regard for how they'll look in your worksheet; afterwards, use cell formatting instructions to specify how you want the cells' contents to display, including such details as decimal places, currency symbols, and how many digits to use for the year. Other cell formatting options let you adjust fonts, colors, borders, and other attributes of a cell or range (page 445).

A handful of buttons on the Formatting toolbar let you bypass dialog boxes for some common tasks, such as choosing a font or changing a range of cells to bold. If you're building a financial worksheet, click the Currency button to ensure that every number in a given range lines up properly and includes the correct currency symbol. To see the full assortment of Excel formatting options, select a range and choose Format, Cells, or right-click a cell or selection and choose Format Cells from the shortcut menu. All available cell formatting options are arranged on six tabs in the Format Cells dialog box.


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