Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Troubleshooting If you type a 9-digit number in a field that expects a phone number, you
won’t see an error message; instead, you’ll see a 2-digit area code. For example, the number
425550012 would be displayed as (42) 555-0012. An 11-digit number would be displayed with
a 4-digit area code. If the phone number doesn’t look right, you probably left out a digit or
included an extra one, so you should make sure your entry is correct.
Just as you can instruct Excel to expect a phone number in a cell, you can also have it
expect a date or a currency amount. You can make those changes from the Format Cells
dialog box by choosing either the Date category or the Currency category. The Date
category enables you to pick the format for the date (and determine whether the date’s
appearance changes due to the Locale setting of the operating system on the computer
viewing the workbook). In a similar vein, selecting the Currency category displays controls
to set the number of places after the decimal point, the currency symbol to use, and the
way in which Excel should display negative numbers.
Tip The Excel user interface enables you to make the most common format changes by
displaying the Home tab of the ribbon and then, in the Number group, either clicking a
button representing a built-in format or selecting a format from the Number Format list.
You can also create a custom numeric format to add a word or phrase to a number
in a cell. For example, you can add the phrase per month to a cell with a formula that
calculates average monthly sales for a year to ensure that you and your colleagues will
recognize the figure as a monthly average. To create a custom number format, click the
Home tab, and then click the Number dialog box launcher (found at the bottom right
corner of the Number group on the ribbon) to display the Format Cells dialog box.
Then, if necessary, click the Number tab.
In the Category list, click Custom to display the available custom number formats in the
Type list. You can then click the base format you want and modify it in the Type box. For
example, clicking the 0.00 format causes Excel to format any number in a cell with two
digits to the right of the decimal point.
Tip The zeros in the format indicate that the position in the format can accept any number as
a valid value.