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Special Edition Using Microsoft® Office XP by Woody Leonhard, Ed Bott

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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, 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.

A handful of buttons on the Formatting toolbar let you bypass dialog boxes for some common tasks, ...

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