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

Changing Directories in a Macro

Need to specify which directory on your hard drive should be used by a macro? It's easy to do using the ChDir command.

Discover More

Turning Off Error Checking

A little green triangle in the corner of a cell means that Excel thinks there is an error with the cell contents. If those ...

Discover More

Shortcut to Merge Cells

Need to merge a bunch of cells together on a regular basis? You'll love the two macros in this tip which can make short work ...

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Referencing External Cell Colors

If you want to reference cell colors external to your current workbook, there is no way to do it using Excel functions. You ...

Discover More

Making Squares

Cells in a worksheet defined by the intersection of rows and columns. If you adjust row height and column width just right, ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Negative Zero Amounts

Have you ever seen a worksheet in which some zero values have a negative sign in front of them? There's a reason for this, as ...

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 less than 4?

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.