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: Adding a Custom Format to those Offered by Excel.

Adding a Custom Format to those Offered by Excel

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 27, 2014)

2

When you display the Format Cells dialog box (Format | Cells) and click Custom on the Number tab, Excel displays a list of custom formats. Some of these formats are provided by Excel by default, and others reflect custom formats used within the current workbook.

If you spend some time developing a custom format, it would be helpful to have that format always appear in the list of custom formats, regardless of which workbook you are using. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards for Excel; it lists only those custom formats unique to the current workbook.

There are a couple of workarounds, however. The first is a natural extension to what is already mentioned in this tip—that the custom list includes any custom formats that have been defined in the current workbook. This means that you could replace Excel's default workbook with one of your own, and the custom format will be available in the list provided the format was defined in the workbook you saved as the default.

Sound confusing? It doesn't need to; all you need to do is start with a brand new workbook and define the custom format. Then, save the workbook as a template under the name Book.xlt, in the XLStart folder. (Just use Windows' Search tool to look locate the XLStart folder.) This file (Book.xlt) then becomes the basis for all new workbooks, which means the custom format will be available in them. It will not affect any existing workbooks.

One problem with using the default-workbook approach is that the custom format, while included in the list, is at the bottom of the list. Unfortunately, there is no way to get your own preferred set of custom formats at the top of the list. There is a quick way to get exactly the custom formats you want, however—use macros.

Seriously, you can create a macro that applies a custom format of any desired type. The macro can be stored with individual workbooks or stored in the Personal.xls workbook so it is available to all workbooks on a system. You can use shortcut keys with the macro so that the format can be applied with a single keypress, or you can assign the macro to a toolbar button or custom menu so that it can be applied using the mouse.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3096) 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: Adding a Custom Format to those Offered by Excel.

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

Unable to Use Bulleting and Numbering

Got a document where you just can't get bullets and numbering to work right? It could be that your document is corrupted. ...

Discover More

Eliminating "Before Spacing" at the Top of a Page

When formatting paragraphs in Word, you have several options to adjust the spacing before, within, and at the end of each ...

Discover More

Default Worksheet when Opening

When opening a workbook, you may want to make sure that a particular worksheet is always displayed first. The only way to ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Coloring Cells with Formulas

Easily seeing where all the formulas are in your worksheet can be handy. Here are some ideas on different ways you can color ...

Discover More

Shortcut Key for Format Painter

The Format Painter is great for copying formatting from one cell to another. If you don't want to grab the mouse to use the ...

Discover More

Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas

Excel's conditional formatting feature allows you to create formats that are based on a wide variety of criteria. If you want ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 three more than 5?

2016-08-16 22:20:20

Peter

S* [UEC] #,##0.00

will


2014-11-11 06:17:54

Niels

Thanks, that's overall good advice, but there's one problem:

Creating a custom currency format like

[$UEC] #,##0.00

fails to put the currency symbol at the front of the field like it does with the "officially" available currency formats in Excel


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.