Formatting Numbers

Formatting Excel numbers can improve how your spreadsheet looks. Use the number function in Excel to also better organize content.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Format the display of numbers
  • Format the date
  • Format the time
  • Format the display of percentages

Formatting numbers in the Format Cells dialog box

Numbers in Excel can assume many different formats: date, time, percentage, or decimals.

To format the appearance of numbers in a cell:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Choose Format Cells from the menu bar.

    Format and Cells Menu Selections

    (You could also right-click and choose Format Cells from the shortcut menu.)
  • The Format Cells dialog box opens.
  • Click the Number tab.

    The Number Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Click Number in the Category drop-down list.

    The Number Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Use the Decimal places scroll bar to select the number of decimal places (e.g., two would display 13.50, three would display 13.500).
  • Click the Use 1000 Separator box if you want commas (1,000) inserted in the number.
  • Use the Negative numbers drop-down list to indicate how numbers less than zero are to be displayed.
  • Click the OK button.

Formatting date in the Format Cells dialog box

The date can be formatted in many different ways in Excel 2003. Here are a few ways it can appear:

October 6, 2003
10/06/03
10-Oct-03

To format the appearance of a date in a cell:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Choose Format Cells from the menu bar.
  • The Format Cells dialog box opens.
  • Click the Number tab.
  • Click Date in the Category drop-down list.

    The Number Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Select the desired date format from the Type drop-down list.
  • Click the OK button.

Formatting time in the Format Cells dialog box

The time can be formatted in many different ways in Excel 2003. Here are a few ways it can appear:

13:30
1:30 PM

To format the appearance of time in a cell:

  • Select the range of cells you want to format.
  • Choose Format Cells from the menu bar.
  • The Format Cells dialog box opens.
  • Click the Number tab.
  • Click Time in the Category drop-down list.

    The Number Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Select the desired time format from the Type drop-down list.
  • Click the OK button.

Formatting percentages in the Format Cells dialog box

There may be times you want to display certain numbers as a percentage. For example, what percentage of credit cards bills account for your total monthly expenses?

To express numbers as percentages in a spreadsheet:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.

    Define Cell Range for Percentage Function
  • Choose Format Cells from the menu bar.
  • The Format Cells dialog box opens.
  • Click the Number tab.
  • Click Percentage in the Category drop-down list.

    The Number Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Define the Decimal Places that will appear to the right of each number.
  • Click the OK button.

    Percentage Applied to Cell Range

Challenge!

  • Open your Monthly Budget file.
  • Format the numbers in the spreadsheet as Currency without the $ symbol.
  • Fill the formula from B19 to C19 through N19. This text Challenge 13 Text will appear in cell 19 of columns D through N because expenses have not been entered for those columns yet.
  • Select row 19, and format the numbers as a percent with no decimal places.An example:Currency and Percent Example
  • Save and close the document.