# Understanding Number Formatting Codes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 10, 2021)

The most frequently used formatting codes are those that affect straight numbers. Excel provides many of them, as shown here:

Symbol Meaning General Uses the general display format. # Indicates a single-digit position. The digit is only displayed if there is a digit in that position. 0 Indicates a single-digit position. If there is no digit in the position, a 0 is displayed. ? Same as the 0 symbol, except results in a space being displayed for insignificant 0s on either side of the decimal point. . (period) The decimal point. % Percentage. The number is multiplied by 100 (for the display) and the % sign is added. , (comma) Thousands separator (if surrounded by digit place holders) or a thousands scalar (if the comma follows all the place holders). E- E+ e- e+ Displays in scientific format. \$ - + / ( ) : space Displays that character \ Forces display of the following character * Repeats the next character to fill out the column width. _ (underscore) Leaves a space the width of the following character. "text" Displays the text within the quotes. @ Text place holder.

To understand better what these codes do, take a look at the information in the following table, which shows several common formats and how they affect numbers.

Category Format Value Displayed As Number #,##0.00 .01 0.01 .1 0.10 1234 1,234.00 -5678 -5,678.00 Percentage 0.00% .01 1.00% .1 10.00% 1.234 123.40% -5.678 -567.80% Scientific 0.00E+00 .01 1.00E-02 .1 1.00E-01 1234 1.23E+03 -5678 -5.68E+03 Currency \$#,##0.00_);[Red](\$#,##0.00) .01 \$0.01 .1 \$0.10 1234 \$1,234.00 -5678 (\$5,678.00)

No matter which format is used to display numbers, the actual accuracy of the number is not affected. Thus, if a number is displayed using two decimal places, it is still maintained internally to 15 decimal places. All calculations are performed using the more accurate internal representation.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1939) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Losing All Formatting in a Document

Have you ever made a formatting change to a couple of characters or to a paragraph, only to see those changes affect text ...

Discover More

Reference to a Range of Endnotes

When multiple endnote references are used at a given point in your document, you may wonder if there is a way to compress ...

Discover More

Sorting with Graphics

If the graphics that you insert in your worksheet meet a couple of simple requirements, it is possible to have those ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

Merge and Center Not Available

What are you to do if you are trying to format a worksheet, only to find out that one of the tools you need is not ...

Discover More

Want to see all the text that is in a cell, even if it is quite a bit? You need to make sure that text wrapping is turned ...

Discover More

Notation for Thousands and Millions

When working with very large numbers in a worksheet, you may want the numbers to appear in a shortened notation, with an ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 9?

2021-05-15 23:04:10

AnonymousGlitchExe14

*!(!\$#*!*!#@&\$_*#\$#^#%#@!*!#@#!_^!(#_1&\$*!_@!^!#@#@^@#@*!&\$_&#\$#\$!\$@*!&#__/__&__\__(!\$#%#%#_&!@!(#_4_\$!*!.-.-.-.--.-.- Each 2 symbols are a number ( example - @! = 21 <~ which this number is a single letter ) each set of 2 numbers represent a signal letter . The two digit number is in Ancient, Greek - Arminian & Iraq. All blended together to spell out a word. (Each underscore is a space between each word).. Have fun figuring it out.

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.