# Excel Tutorial: How To Change The Default Number Format In Excel

## Introduction

Whether you're a seasoned Excel user or just starting out, understanding how to change the default number format in Excel can save you time and frustration. By customizing the way numbers are displayed in your spreadsheets, you can improve the readability and professionalism of your documents. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the process of changing the default number format in Excel and explain why it's an essential skill for anyone working with spreadsheets.

## Key Takeaways

• Understanding how to change the default number format in Excel can save time and frustration for users of all levels.
• There are different types of number formats available in Excel, including general, number, currency, date, etc.
• Changing the default number format in Excel can be done by going to the "File" tab, selecting "Options," and then choosing the default number format under the "Advanced" tab.
• It's important to experiment with different number formats and customize them to suit your specific needs for accurate data representation.

## Understanding Number Formats in Excel

When working with data in Excel, it’s important to understand how to format numbers to make them easier to read and interpret. This tutorial will guide you through the process of changing the default number format in Excel.

A. Define what a number format is in Excel

A number format in Excel determines how a number appears in a cell. It controls the display of the number, including the use of decimal places, currency symbols, and date formats.

B. Discuss the different types of number formats available in Excel

Excel offers a variety of number formats to choose from, each serving a specific purpose:

• General: This is the default number format in Excel, and it displays numbers as they are entered, with no specific formatting applied.
• Number: This format is used for general numeric values and allows you to specify the number of decimal places to display.
• Currency: The currency format is used to display monetary values, with options to specify the currency symbol and decimal places.
• Date: This format is used for displaying dates in various formats, such as month/day/year or day/month/year.
• Percentage: The percentage format is used to display numbers as percentages, multiplying the cell value by 100 and adding a percentage sign.
• Scientific: This format is used for displaying numbers in scientific notation, with options to specify the number of decimal places.

### Conclusion

Understanding number formats in Excel is essential for effectively presenting and interpreting data. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of number formats available and how to apply them, you can ensure that your data is displayed in a clear and understandable manner.

## How to Change the Default Number Format

When working with Excel, you may find that the default number format does not always meet your needs. Fortunately, Excel allows you to change the default number format to suit your preferences. Follow these simple steps to change the default number format in Excel.

### A. Go to the "File" tab and select "Options"

• Click on the "File" tab located in the top-left corner of the Excel window.
• From the dropdown menu, select "Options" at the bottom.

### B. Click on the "Advanced" tab

• Within the Excel Options window, click on the "Advanced" tab on the left-hand side.

### C. Under the "When calculating this workbook" section, select the default number format you want to use

• Scroll down to find the "When calculating this workbook" section.
• Locate the "Set precision as displayed" option and select the default number format you want to use from the dropdown menu.

### D. Click "OK" to save the changes

• Once you have selected your preferred default number format, click "OK" at the bottom of the Excel Options window to save the changes.

By following these steps, you can easily change the default number format in Excel to better suit your needs and preferences. This can help streamline your work and ensure that your data is presented in the most effective way.

## Customizing Number Formats

Excel allows users to customize number formats to suit their specific needs. This can be done using the "Format Cells" dialog box or by creating custom number formats using specific codes.

### Show how to customize number formats using the "Format Cells" dialog box

The "Format Cells" dialog box in Excel provides a simple way to customize number formats. To access this dialog box, select the cell or range of cells that you want to format, then right-click and choose "Format Cells" from the context menu. Alternatively, you can go to the Home tab, click the dialog box launcher in the Number group, and select "Format Cells."

• Number tab: This tab allows you to customize the appearance of numbers, including options for decimal places, separators, and negative numbers.
• Currency tab: Here, you can choose the format for displaying currency, including the symbol, decimal places, and negative numbers.
• Alignment tab: This tab allows you to specify the alignment of the numbers within the cell, such as left, right, or center.

### Demonstrate how to create custom number formats using specific codes

For more advanced customization, users can create custom number formats using specific codes. These codes allow for a high level of flexibility in formatting numbers to meet specific requirements.

To create a custom number format, select the cell or range of cells that you want to format, then right-click and choose "Format Cells." In the "Number" tab, select "Custom" from the category list. In the "Type" box, you can enter a custom format code to achieve the desired formatting.

• Adding currency symbols: To add a currency symbol, simply include it in the format code. For example, "£#,##0.00" will display the numbers with the pound symbol and two decimal places.
• Adjusting decimal places: To specify the number of decimal places, use the "#" symbol for optional digits and "0" for required digits. For example, "#,###.##" will display up to two decimal places.
• Displaying percentages: To display numbers as percentages, use the "%" symbol in the format code. For example, "0.00%" will display the numbers with two decimal places and a percentage symbol.

## Applying Number Formats to Cells

Changing the default number format in Excel is a simple process that allows you to customize the way numbers are displayed in your spreadsheet. Follow these steps to apply a new number format to your cells:

### A. Select the cells or range of cells you want to apply the new number format to

• Click and drag to select the desired cells

### B. Go to the "Home" tab and click on the dropdown menu next to the number format selector

• Navigate to the "Home" tab at the top of the Excel window
• Locate the number format selector in the toolbar
• Click on the dropdown menu next to the number format selector

### C. Choose the custom number format you want to apply from the list

• Scroll through the list to find the custom number format you want to apply
• Click on the desired format to apply it to the selected cells

By following these simple steps, you can easily change the default number format in Excel and tailor the display of numbers in your spreadsheet to meet your specific needs.

## Tips for Using Custom Number Formats

Custom number formats in Excel can be a powerful tool for displaying data in a way that is more meaningful and easier to interpret. Here are some tips for effectively using custom number formats in Excel.

• Using Conditional Formatting
• Conditional formatting allows you to apply custom number formats based on specific criteria. This can be particularly useful for highlighting certain values or making data more visually appealing.

### Example:

For example, you can use conditional formatting to apply a custom number format that adds a specific color to any value that is above a certain threshold, making it easier to identify outliers in your data.

• Common Custom Number Format Codes
• There are a variety of custom number format codes that you can use to format your data in Excel. Here are some common examples and their applications.

### Example:

#,##0.00 - This code adds a thousands separator and formats numbers with two decimal places, making large numbers easier to read.

### Example:

0.00%;[Red]-0.00% - This code formats numbers as percentages and applies a different color for negative values, making it easy to spot negative trends in your data.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, we have discussed how to change the default number format in Excel. We learned that by accessing the Format Cells dialog box, users can customize the default number format to suit their specific needs. I encourage readers to experiment with different number formats and explore the custom options available in Excel. Understanding the default and custom number formats is crucial for accurate data representation and analysis in Excel, so take the time to familiarize yourself with these features to make the most out of your spreadsheet tasks.

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