Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Formatting numbers
Using accounting underlines
Generally accepted accounting principles specify the proper usage of single and double
underlines in tables. The Underline button on the Home tab includes a menu letting
you select single or double underlines, but unfortunately these do not rise to the
accepted standard. But fear not—Excel provides two accounting-specific underline
formats in a drop-down list of the same name on the Font tab in the Format Cells dialog
box. These differ from their regular counterparts in two ways. First, accounting
underlines are applied to the entire width of the cell (minus a parenthesis-sized space on
each side), whereas regular underlines are applied only under the actual characters in a
cell. If the cell contains a text entry that extends beyond the cell border, the
accounting underlines stop at the cell border. Second, the accounting underline formats appear
near the bottom of cells, unlike regular underlines, which are applied much closer to
the numbers or text in the cell, resulting in annoying lines through commas and the
descenders of letters like g and p. Of course, you can also apply single-line and
doubleline cell borders instead of underline formats, which is the approach used when you
add a totals row to a table using the Totals Row option on the Table Tools Design tab.
For information about font formats, see “Using fonts” later in this chapter. For information
about tables, see “Formatting tables” earlier in this chapter.
Formatting percentages
Not surprisingly, using the Percentage format displays numbers as percentages. The
decimal point of the formatted number, in effect, moves two places to the right, and a percent
sign appears at the end of the number. For example, if you choose a percentage format
without decimal places, the entry 0.1234 is displayed as 12%; if you select two decimal
places, the entry 0.1234 is displayed as 12.34%. Remember that you can always adjust
the number of displayed decimal places using the Increase Decimal and Decrease Decimal
buttons.
An interesting (and helpful) quirk about percentage formats is that they behave differently
depending on whether you type a number and then apply the format or type a number in
a previously formatted cell. For example, Figure 9-38 shows two cells formatted as
percentages. We typed the same number— 22.33 —in each cell, but only cell A1 was previously
formatted with the Percentage format; we clicked the Percent Style button after typing the
value in cell A2.
As you can see, it makes a world of difference which way you do this. So, why is this
behavior helpful? For example, if a worksheet contains a displayed value of 12% and you need
to change it to 13%, typing 13 in the cell would seem to make sense, even though this is
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