When you enter a number into a cell, you can display that number in a variety of different formats. Excel has quite a few built-in number formats, but you may find that none of them suit your needs.
This chapter describes how to create custom number formats and provides many examples that you can use as-is or adapt to your needs.
By default, all cells use the General number format. This format is basically “what you type is what you get.” But if the cell isn’t wide enough to show the entire number, the General format rounds numbers with decimals and uses scientific notation for large numbers. In many cases, the General number format works just fine. But most people prefer to specify a different number format for consistency.
The key thing to remember about number formatting is that it affects only how a value is displayed. The actual number remains intact, and any formulas that use a formatted number use the actual number.
An exception to this rule occurs if you specify the Set Precision As Displayed option in the Advanced tab in the Excel Options dialog box. If that option is in effect, formulas use the values that are actually displayed in the cells. In general, using this option is not a good idea because it changes the ...