Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Fixing the Decimal Point.

Fixing the Decimal Point

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 12, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Most electronic calculators have an option that allows you to specify a fixed location for a decimal point. This comes in real handy when you are working with dollars and cents, for instances. With the decimal point fixed at two places, you can enter "213" and have the calculator translate it as "2.13". Likewise, if you enter "2", the calculator translates it as "0.02".

Excel has a feature that allows you to do the same thing. To fix the number of decimal places assumed when inputting information, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Fixed Decimal check box is selected.
  5. Using the Places control, specify how many decimal places Excel should assume.
  6. Click OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2755) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Fixing the Decimal Point.

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. ...

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