Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Formatting Decimal Points**

Formatting Decimal Points

The final two buttons on the lower tier of the Number button group are Increase Decimal

and Decrease Decimal, important options that require a bit of introduction. As its name

suggests, Increase Decimal adds a decimal point to a value with each click. In the case of

a whole number, say 74, clicking Increase Decimal point results in

74.0

=4/7

in which no real additional value is expressed. But if you had written the formula

instead, you’d originally see

0.571429

However, click Increase Decimal here, and you’ll see

0.5714286

This adds a degree of additional precision to this repeating decimal.

NOTE:
The number of decimal places you’ll initially see depends on the current width of the cell,

the current font size, and the nature of the fraction you’re working with (e.g., 1/2 vs. 1/3. The

former will appear by default as 0.5).

On the other hand, if you
narrow
the column in which the preceding number appears,

Excel will reduce its number of decimals so that you can continue to see the number.

But it will also round the decimal off. Narrow the column here and you’ll see

0.57143

Narrow it some more and you’ll see

0.5714

and so on.

By the same token, type 4.67 in a cell followed by Decrease Decimal and you’ll see

4.7

Click Decrease Decimal again and you’ll see

5.0

But mathematically, that value is still really worth 4.67. Multiply it by 2 in a formula and

the answer will come to 9.34, not 10. Again, we’re only
formatting
the value, not

changing its actual quantity.