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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 19, 2018)


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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What is 4 + 4?

2015-09-22 05:39:46


it was helpful
thanks a lot

2015-03-22 08:04:05

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Assuuming the 5 columns are A<->E, try to use the following Event-MAcro in that specific sheey.
Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
If Target.Column <= 5 Then
Application.EnableEvents = False
Target = Target * 1000
Target.NumberFormat = "#,#"
Application.EnableEvents = True
End If
End Sub
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

2015-03-21 16:38:26


I am looking for a way to do something similar to "Fixed-Decimal Places = -3" but only for about 5 specified columns within my worksheet. I want to enter 203 into the cell in that specified column and have it show and be used as 203,000. Is there a way to do this? Thanks ~RB

2013-06-19 19:36:56


Note this tip appears to apply to all Workbooks.

Also if you are using later versions of Excel (2010), you need to go to the File - Options - Advanced Dialog box where you will find the Automatic Insertion of Decimal Point Option.

One option would be to create an icon on a custom toolbar that would run the following macro to easily toggle the Automatic Insertion of the Decimal.

Sub DecimalPointTOGGLE()
' DecimalPointTOGGLE Macro
' TOGGLES Automatic Decimal Point Insertion

If Application.FixedDecimal = True Then
Application.FixedDecimal = False
Application.FixedDecimal = True
End If
End Sub

You could also write a short macro that runs when you close your workbook to automatically set Application.FixedDecimal = False.

Likewise you could have it automatically set to Application.FixedDecimal = True when you load the workbook.

2013-06-17 18:46:43


It would be useful to know whether this major change applies to Excel or only to the currently active workbook.

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