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# Available number formats

By applying different number formats, you can change the appearance of a number without changing the number itself. A number format does not affect the actual cell value that Excel uses to perform calculations. The actual value is displayed in the formula bar (formula bar: A bar at the top of the Excel window that you use to enter or edit values or formulas in cells or charts. Displays the constant value or formula stored in the active cell.).

Formula bar and related cell

The following table provides a summary of the number formats that are available on the **Home** tab in the **Number** group. To see all available number formats, click the Dialog Box Launcher next to **Number**.

Format |
Description |
---|---|

General |
The default number format that Excel applies when you type a number. For the most part, numbers that are formatted with the General format are displayed just the way you type them. However, if the cell is not wide enough to show the entire number, the General format rounds the numbers with decimals. The General number format also uses scientific (exponential) notation for large numbers (12 or more digits). |

Number |
Used for the general display of numbers. You can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use, whether you want to use a thousands separator, and how you want to display negative numbers. |

Currency |
Used for general monetary values and displays the default currency symbol with numbers. You can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use, whether you want to use a thousands separator, and how you want to display negative numbers. |

Accounting |
Also used for monetary values, but it aligns the currency symbols and decimal points of numbers in a column. |

Date |
Displays date and time serial numbers as date values, according to the type and locale (location) that you specify. Date formats that begin with an asterisk (*) respond to changes in regional date and time settings that are specified in Control Panel. Formats without an asterisk are not affected by Control Panel settings. |

Time |
Displays date and time serial numbers as time values, according to the type and locale (location) that you specify. Time formats that begin with an asterisk (*) respond to changes in regional date and time settings that are specified in Control Panel. Formats without an asterisk are not affected by Control Panel settings. |

Percentage |
Multiplies the cell value by 100 and displays the result with a percent (%) symbol. You can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use. |

Fraction |
Displays a number as a fraction, according to the type of fraction that you specify. |

Scientific |
Displays a number in exponential notation, replacing part of the number with E+n, where E (which stands for Exponent) multiplies the preceding number by 10 to the nth power. For example, a 2-decimal Scientific format displays 12345678901 as 1.23E+10, which is 1.23 times 10 to the 10th power. You can specify the number of decimal places that you want to use. |

Text |
Treats the content of a cell as text and displays the content exactly as you type it, even when you type numbers. |

Special |
Displays a number as a postal code (ZIP Code), phone number, or Social Security number. |

Custom |
Allows you to modify a copy of an existing number format code. Use this format to create a custom number format that is added to the list of number format codes. You can add between 200 and 250 custom number formats, depending on the language version of Excel that is installed on your computer. |

Applies to:

Excel 2010