Excel number formatting makes numbers easier for the reader to see what type of number is in a cell, e.g. a percentage, currency, date. It doesn’t change the number that is in the cell.
Even a date is stored as a number – 3/07/2015 is stored as 42188, but Excel is clever enough to realise when a date is being entered and will automatically format it as a date. For a date in the current year you don’t even need to enter the year, by entering 03/07 Excel will add the 2015 (or whatever year you are in) automatically.
Below I have formatted the same number in each cell to show some of the commonly used quick number formats found in the number format drop down box.
Each cell has 3.5 typed into it, only the formatting is different. To format click on the the ‘General’ drop down list in the number format tool group and then select the type of formatting you want to apply.
You will see at the bottom of the drop down menu there is a ‘More number formats’ option
This box will open when you click on it:
From within here you can have far more flexibility about the formatting you are applying. Explore and see what you can find.
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