Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Formatting numbers**

Figure 9-39
Excel provides many fraction-formatting options.

You can also apply fraction formatting on the fly by typing fractional values in a specific way.

Type a number (or a zero), type a space, and then type the fraction, as in 123 1/2. For more

details, see “Formatting as you type” earlier in this chapter.

Formatting Scientific (exponential) values

The Scientific format displays numbers in exponential notation. For example, a two-decimal

Scientific format (the default) displays the number 98765432198 as 9.88E+10 in a

standardwidth cell. The number 9.88E+10 is 9.88 times 10 to the 10th power. The symbol E stands

for
exponent
, a synonym here for 10 to the
n
th power. The expression “
10 to the 10th

power”
means 10 times itself 10 times, or 10,000,000,000. Multiplying this value by 9.88

gives you 98,800,000,000, an approximation of 98,765,432,198. Increasing the number of

decimal places (the only option available for this format) increases the precision and will

likely require a wider cell to accommodate the displayed value.

You can also use the Scientific format to display very small numbers. For example, in a

standard-width cell this format displays 0.000000009 as 9.00E–09, which equates to 9

times 10 to the negative 9th power. The expression “
10 to the negative 9th power”
means

1 divided by 10 to the 9th power, 1 divided by 10 nine times, or 0.000000001. Multiplying

this number by nine results in our original number, 0.000000009.