Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering data with other shortcuts
Understanding how Excel interprets data entry
Excel makes it easy for you to enter data in a worksheet by
guessing the type of data you’re entering and applying the
appropriate formatting to that data. It’s important to
remember that because Excel is a computer program, it has some
limitations. For example, Excel performs calculations by using
decimal values, such as .5, rather than fractions, such as ½;
however, if you do want to express some of your data as
fractions and not as decimal values, you can do so by changing
the cell’s format to Fraction. In either case, you can save the
data in your preferred format.
the data as 3-Feb. In the U.K. and other regions where the
day is entered first, 2/3 is interpreted as 2-Mar.
You can choose the format you want for dates and times
by selecting the cells that will hold dates or times, clicking
the Home tab on the ribbon, and then clicking the Number
dialog box launcher to display the Number tab of the Format
Cells dialog box. Inside the dialog box, click Date in the list of
categories. The available date formats appear on the right.
From there, just click the format you want, and click OK.
Another aspect of this bias toward decimal values is that
entering dates and times is much easier than it would be if
you had to type out a full date, such as February 3, 2013. For
example, if you have U.S. regional settings and type 2/3 in a
cell and press Enter, Excel recognizes the text as an
abbreviation for the third day of the month of February and displays
Selecting a number format changes the way data is displayed
in a cell but doesn’t affect the underlying value. For example,
if you want a numerical value in a cell to appear as a fraction,
such as representing 0.5 as ½, click the Number tab, click the
Fraction category, specify the type of fraction on the right,
and click OK.