Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
It Takes All Types
If you’re trained in accounting, you can enclose the negative number (that’s
expense to you) in parentheses. You’d enter it like this: (175) . If you go to all
the trouble to use parentheses for your negatives (expenses), Excel goes ahead
and automatically converts the number so that it begins with a minus sign; if
you enter (175) in the Coffee and Donut expense cell, Excel spits back –175.
(Relax, you can find out how to get your beloved parentheses back for the
With numeric values that represent dollar amounts, like the amount of money
you made last year, you can include dollar signs (\$) and commas (,) just as
they appear in the printed or handwritten numbers you’re working from.
Just be aware that when you enter a number with commas, Excel assigns a
number format to the value that matches your use of commas. (For more
information on number formats and how they are used, see Chapter 3.)
Likewise, when you preface a financial figure with a dollar sign, Excel assigns
an appropriate dollar-number format to the value (one that automatically
inserts commas between the thousands).
When entering numeric values with decimal places, use the period as the
decimal point. When you enter decimal values, the program automatically
adds a zero before the decimal point (Excel inserts 0.34 in a cell when you
enter .34 ) and drops trailing zeros entered after the decimal point (Excel
inserts 12.5 in a cell when you enter 12.50 ).
If you don’t know the decimal equivalent for a value that contains a fraction,
you can just go ahead and enter the value with its fraction. For example, if
you don’t know that 2.1875 is the decimal equivalent for 2 3 16 , just type 2 3 16
(making sure to add a space between the 2 and 3) in the cell. After
completing the entry, when you put the cell pointer in that cell, you see 2 3 16 in the
cell of the worksheet, but 2.1875 appears on the Formula bar. As you see in
Chapter 3, it’s then a simple trick to format the display of 2 3 16 in the cell so
that it matches the 2.1875 on the Formula bar.
If you need to enter simple fractions, such as 3/4 or 5/8, you must enter them
as a mixed number preceded by zero; for example, enter 0 3 or 0 5 (be 8
sure to include a space between the zero and the fraction). Otherwise, Excel
thinks that you’re entering the dates March 4 (3/4) or May 8 (5/8).
When entering in a cell a numeric value that represents a percentage (so
much out of a hundred), you have this choice:
You can divide the number by 100 and enter the decimal equivalent (by
moving the decimal point two places to the left like your teacher taught
you; for example, enter .12 for 12 percent).
You can enter the number with the percent sign (for example, enter 12% ).
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