Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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Time Is On Your Side—Yes It Is
And note the sample captures the actual value in the cell we’ve selected. What’s happening here is
that Fraction starts by treating 34.32 as 34.3—one digit’s worth of a decimal; but if we choose the next
option, Up to two digits , we’ll get (Figure 4–84):
Figure 4–84. Options for representing numbers as fractions
The number is now regarded as the two-digit decimal it truly is, and the sample shows 34 8/25—
or, exactly 34.32.
What about Special ? This category automatically formats numbers in one of four motifs (at least for
users in the US): Zip Code, Zip Code+4, Phone Number , an d Social Security Number . Special imposes
what is called in Access an input mask on a value, supplying punctuation in the cell that spares the user
the need to do so. Some examples: normally typing a zip code in say, New England, where the codes
be g i n wi th ze r o, pose s a pr obl e m i n Exce l , be ca use ty pi n g :
04567
is rendered by Excel initially as 4567, with the leading zero eliminated. But select Zip Code from the
Special option, and you get all five digits. Indeed, if you type:
4567
Zip Code will automatically supply the zero. Zip Code +4 lets the user type a nine-digit number,
whereupon Excel will insert the dash between the fifth and sixth digit. As a result, typing:
123456789
yields:
12345-6789
The Phone and Social Security Number options likewise supply dashes at the appropriate points in
a number, so that the user doesn’t have to remember exactly where they go.

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