Applying Number Formatting

Number formatting refers to the process of changing the appearance of values contained in cells. Excel provides a wide variety of number formatting options. In the following sections, you see how to use many of Excel’s formatting options to quickly improve the appearance of your worksheets.


Remember that the formatting you apply works with the selected cell or cells. Therefore, you need to select the cell (or range of cells) before applying the formatting. Also remember that changing the number format does not affect the underlying value. Number formatting affects only the appearance.

Values that you enter into cells normally are unformatted. In other words, they simply consist of a string of numerals. Typically, you want to format the numbers so that they’re easier to read or are more consistent in terms of the number of decimal places shown.

Figure 13-8 shows a worksheet that has two columns of values. The first column consists of unformatted values. The cells in the second column are formatted to make the values easier to read. The third column describes the type of formatting applied.

Figure 13-8. Use numeric formatting to make it easier to understand what the values in the worksheet represent.


If you move the cell pointer to a cell that has a formatted value, the Formula bar displays the value in its unformatted state ...

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