Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Making numbers easier to read
TROUBLESHOOTING If you enter a 9-digit number in a field that expects a phone number,
no error message will appear; instead, a 2-digit area code appears. For example, the
number 425550012 would be displayed as (42) 555-0012. An 11-digit number would be
displayed with a 4-digit area code. If the phone number doesn’t look right, you probably
left out a digit or included an extra one, so you should make sure your entry is correct.
Just as you can instruct Excel to expect a phone number in a cell, you can also have it
expect a date or a currency amount. You can make those changes from the Format Cells
dialog box by choosing either the Date category or the Currency category. Using the Date
category, you can pick the format for the date (and determine whether the date’s
appearance changes due to the Locale setting of the operating system on the computer viewing
the workbook). In a similar vein, selecting the Currency category displays controls to set the
number of places after the decimal point, the currency symbol to use, and the way in which
Excel should display negative numbers.
TIP With the Excel user interface, you can make the most common format changes by
displaying the Home tab of the ribbon and then, in the Number group, either clicking a
button representing a built-in format or selecting a format from the Number Format list.
You can also create a custom numeric format to add a word or phrase to a number in a cell.
For example, you can add the phrase per month to a cell that has a formula that calculates
average monthly sales for a year to ensure that you and your colleagues will recognize the
figure as a monthly average. To create a custom number format, click the Home tab, and
then click the Number dialog box launcher (found at the lower-right corner of the Number
group on the ribbon) to display the Format Cells dialog box. Then, if necessary, click the