Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Formatting Worksheet Cells
Figure 2-12
Formatted date
number format of
the selected cell
Number
Format arrow
date in the Long
Date format
Excel Dates and Times as Numeric Values
Although dates and times entered into a cell usually are displayed as text, they are
actually stored by Excel as numbers measuring the interval between the specified date and
time and January 1, 1900 at 12:00 a.m. For example, the date April 1, 2013 is stored as
41,365, which is the number of days between April 1, 2013 and January 1, 1900.
Times are stored as fractional parts of one day. A time of 6:00 a.m. is stored as 0.25
because that represents one-fourth of a 24-hour day (starting the day from 12:00 a.m.).
Similarly, a cell containing the date and time of April 1, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. would be
stored as 41,365.25.
Excel stores dates and times as numbers to make it easier to calculate time intervals.
For example, to calculate the difference between one date and another, you just subtract
the earlier date from the later date. If you subtract the date and time of March 30, 2013
at 12:00 p.m. from April 1, 2013 at 6:00 a.m., Excel displays 1.75—or one and three
quarters of a day.
You can always view the actual date and time by selecting the cell that contains the
date/time entry and applying the General number format, or by switching the workbook
window to Formula view.
Formatting Worksheet Cells
You can format the appearance of individual cells by modifying the alignment of text
within the cell, indenting cell text, or adding borders of different styles and colors to
individual cells or ranges. You’ll make these changes to the cells in Tom’s workbook.
Aligning Cell Content
By default, cell text is aligned with the left and bottom borders of a cell and cell values
are aligned with the right and bottom borders. In some cases, you might want to change
the text alignment to make the text more readable or visually appealing. In general, you
should center column titles, left-align other cell text, and align numbers to keep their
decimal places lined up within a column. The buttons to set these alignment options are
located in the Alignment group on the Home tab. Figure 2-13 describes the operations of
these buttons.
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