When is Currency Not Currency?

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 18, 2016)

Excel features several shortcuts that allow you to quickly apply formatting to selected cells. For instance, on the Formatting toolbar or the Home tab of the ribbon there are tools that allow you to apply character attributes, such as bold, italics, and underline. There is also a tool that has a dollar sign on it. (Well, it does in the US versions—not sure about what the tool looks like in other countries' versions of Excel.) If you hover the mouse pointer over this tool, the ToolTip that appears says Currency Style.

The fact of the matter is, this tool doesn't really apply the Currency style. What really happens is that the tool applies the Accounting style with the currency symbol selected. You can verify this by selecting a cell, clicking on the Currency Style tool, and then choosing Cells from the Format menu. In the resulting Format Cells dialog box, the Number tab indicates that the selected cell is formatted using the Accounting style.

While the distinction between the Currency style and the Accounting style may not seem like a big deal, it can make a big difference in how information is displayed in the affected cells. The Currency and Accounting styles align numbers and currency symbols differently, and some of the available underline styles work differently in cells formatted with the two styles.

To figure out which format works best for you, make sure you test them both out. And if you really want to use the Currency style, then don't use the Currency Style tool on the toolbar.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2477) 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

Setting Defaults in the Cross-reference Dialog Box

Some types of documents rely on cross-references quite a bit. Setting up the Cross-reference dialog box the first time in ...

Discover More

Using Named Formulas Across Workbooks

You can use the naming capabilities of Excel to name both ranges and formulas. Accessing that named information in a ...

Discover More

Alerts About Approaching Due Dates

You may use Excel to track due dates for a variety of purposes. As a due date approaches, you may want that fact drawn to ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Adjusting Row Height when Wrapping Text

If you have some cells merged in a worksheet, and you wrap text within that merged cell, Excel won't automatically resize ...

Discover More

Formatting Currency

If you want to format currency values so that Excel uses periods between groups of thousands and commas as a decimal ...

Discover More

Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems

When you format a date in a specific manner, you may be surprised to see that the format changes when you open the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] in your comment text. You’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 more than 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.