Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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For Appearance’s Sake: Formatting Your Data
For Appearance’s Sake:
Formatting Your Data
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on some of the ways you can make all that data work
for you, through Excel’s functions and your own self-devised formulas, you’ll want to go
on and think about how all those results should look— because you’re likely to have to
show your work to someone else, and you know what they say about first impressions.
Excel makes a huge assortment of formatting options available to its users, and we’re
going to take a look at some of these important, easy-to-apply options now.
What Formatting Does (and Doesn’t Do)
The first thing you need to bear in mind about formatting in Excel is that when you dab
at its palette of possibilities you’re not “doing” anything to the data. That is, when you
reformat a value, you merely change the way it looks; you don’t modify the value itself.
Thus, whether 72 looks like Figure 5–1 or 5–2, it’s still equal to 36 2.
Figure 5–1. Either way…A number using one type of formatting
Figure 5–2. The same number with different formatting applied
Reformatting works to change the appearance of your data, and that’s all. That 72 is still
usable in formulas and the like, no matter how it looks, and that’s a point you’ll want to
remember as we proceed.
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