Apply Simple Formatting to Numbers, Dates and Times in Excel

Have you ever been asked to present your data in specific accounting formats? Excel provides a multitude of preset formatting options for customizing numbers, dates and times.

You can present data in the way that best expresses your needs and conforms with any government, industry or company standards and styles that might apply to your data. Just apply a number format via the Numbers group controls.

Apply a Simple Number Format Steps

  1. Select the cells to be formatted.
  2. On the Home tab, select a format button from the Numbers panel [A], or click the numbers format dropdown to choose from additional options.

To quickly perform some of the most common cell formatting tasks, select the cell, row or column you wish to format, then click one of the shortcut buttons in the Number panel or right-click to open a fly-out menu. The following shortcuts are available in both:

  • Currency Combo Button: Click the left half of the button—the half with the symbol—to format the selected cells as currency (100 becomes $100.00). Click the right half of the button—the one with the down arrow—to see more currency and accounting formatting options.
  • Percentage Button: Click this button to append each number in the selected cells with a % sign.
  • Comma Button: Click this button to add comma separators to each number in the selected cells and append each number with a decimal point followed by two decimal places (1000 becomes 1,000.00).
  • Decimal Adjuster Buttons: Click these buttons to add or remove decimal places, one at a time, from numbers (3.14 becomes 3.1 or 3.140).

You can even apply formatting to cells before they contain any data. By setting up your formatting before you—or anyone else—enters data into the sheet, you guarantee that formatting will be consistent and make entering the data faster and easier!