Definition of Format Cells
A format in excel can be defined as the change of appearance of the data in the cell the way it is, without changing the actual data or numbers in the cells. That means the data in the cell remains the same, but we will change the way it looks.
Different Formats in Excel
We have multiple formats in Excel to use. To see the available formats in excel click on the “Home” menu on the top left corner.
In General format, there is no specific format whatever you input it will appear in the same way, it may be number or text or symbol. After clicking on the HOME menu go to the “NUMBER” segment there you can find a drop of formats.
Click on the drop-down where you see the “General” option.
We will discuss each of these formats one by one with related examples.
This format converts the data to number format. When we input the data initially it will be in General format, after converting to Number format only it will appear as number format. Observe the below screenshot for the number in General format.
Now choose the format “Number” from the drop-down list and see how the appearance of cell A1 changes.
That is a difference between the General and Number format. If you want further customizations to your number format, select the cell that you want to do customization and right-click the below menu will come.
Choose the “Format Cells“ option then you will get the below window.
Choose “Number” under the “Category” option then you will get the customizations for the Number format. Choose the number of decimals you want to display. Tick the checkbox “Use 1000 separator” for separation of 1000’s with a comma (,).
Choose the negative number format whether you want to display with a negative symbol, with brackets, with red color and with brackets and red color.
Currency format helps to convert the data to a currency format. We have an option to choose the type of currency as per our requirement. Select the cell which you want to convert to Currency format and choose the “Currency” option from the drop-down.
Currently, it is in Dollar currency. We can change by clicking on the drop-down of “$” and choose your required currency.
In the drop-down, we have few currencies, if you want the other currencies, click on the option “More Accounting formats” which will display a pop-up menu as below.
Click on the drop-down “Symbol” and choose the required currency format.
As you all know accounting numbers are all related to money hence whenever we convert any number to accounting format it will add a currency symbol to that. The difference between the currency and accounting is currency symbol alignment. Below are the screenshots for reference.
Short Date Format
A date can represent in a short format and long format. When you want to represent your date in a short format use the short date format. Eg: 1/1/2019.
Long Date Format
Long date is used to represent our date in expandable format like the below screenshot.
We see the short date format and long date format have multiple formats to represent our dates. Right-click and select “Format Cells” as how we did before for “numbers” then we will get the window to select the required formats.
You can choose the location from the “Locale” drop-down menu.
Choose the date format under the “Type” menu.
We can represent our date in any of the formats from the available formats.
This format is used to represent the time. If you input time without converting the cell into time format it will show normally but if you convert the cell into time format and input, it will clearly represent the time. Find the below screenshot for the differences.
If you still want to change the time format, then change in the format cells menu as shown below.
If you want to represent the number percentage use this format. Input any number in the cell and select that cell and choose the percentage format then the number will convert into percentage.
When we input the fraction numbers like 1/5 we should convert the cells into Fraction format. If we input the same 1/5 in a normal cell it will show as date.
This is how fraction format works.
When you input the number and convert to text format the number will align to the left side. It will consider as text as only not the number.
When you input a number 10000 (Ten thousand) and convert it into a scientific format it will display as 1E+04 , here E means exponent and 04 represents the number of zeros. If we input the number 0.0003 it will display as 3E-04. For better understand this try different numbers in excel format and check you will get a better idea.
Apart from the explained formats, we have other formats like Alignment, Font, Border, Fill and Protection.
Most of them are self-explanatory hence I am leaving and explaining protection alone. When you want to lock any cells in the spreadsheet use this option. But this lock will enable only when you protect the sheet.
You can hide and lock the cells on the same screen, Excel has provided instructions when it will affect.
Things to Remember About Format Cells in Excel
- One can apply formats by right-clicking and selecting the format cells or from the drop-down as explained initially. Impact of them is same however when you right-click you will have multiple options.
- When you want to apply a format to another cell use format painter. Select the cell and click on format painter and choose the cell which you want to apply.
- Use the option “Custom” when you want to create your own formats as per requirement.
This is a guide to Format Cells in Excel. Here we discuss How to Format Cells in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –