Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Enhancing Reporting with Custom Number Formatting
The number formatting syntax tells Excel how a number will look in various scenarios.
Number formatting syntax consists of different individual number formats separated by
semicolons. In this example, you see two different formats:
The format to the left of the semicolon. By default, any formatting to the left of the first
semicolon is applied to positive numbers.
The format to the right of the semicolon. Any formatting to the right of the first
semicolon is applied to negative numbers.
So in this scenario, negative numbers are formatted with parentheses, whereas positive
numbers are formatted as a simple number.
Notice that the syntax for the positive formatting in the previous example ends with _).
This tells Excel to leave a space the width of a parenthesis character at the end of
positive numbers. This syntax ensures that positive and negative numbers align nicely when
negative numbers are wrapped within parentheses.
You can edit the syntax in the Type input box so that the numbers are formatted differently. For
example, try changing the syntax to:
When applied, positive numbers will start with the + symbol, and negative numbers will start with a –
symbol, like so:
This comes in quite handy when formatting percentages. For instance, you can apply a custom
percent format by entering the following syntax into the Type input box:
This syntax gives you percentages that look like this:
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