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Create and apply a custom number format

If the built-in number formats don't suit your needs, you can create a new number format based on an existing format and add it to the list of custom number formats. For example, when creating a spreadsheet of user information, you can define a number format for phone numbers. You can apply the custom number format to a string of digits in a cell to format it as a phone number.

Important: Custom number formats only affect the way numbers are displayed, not the underlying numerical values. Custom number formats are saved in the active workbook and cannot be used in new workbooks that you open.

Create custom number formats

  1. click on the Home tab in the group Number at the bottom of the list Number format on more .

  2. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  3. Choose from the list Type select the built-in format that is closest to the format you want to create. Example: 0,00.

    The selected number format is displayed in the field Type displayed.

  4. Edit in the field Type the number format codes to create the exact format you want. Example: 000-000-0000.

    The changes do not affect the built-in format. A new custom format will be created instead.

  5. When the process is complete, click OK.

Apply custom number formats

  1. Select the cell or range of cells to be formatted.

  2. click on the Home tab in the group Number at the bottom of the list Number format on more .

  3. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  4. Select from the list below Type the format you just created. Example: 000-000-0000.

    The selected number format is displayed in the field Type displayed.

  5. click on OK.

Deleting custom number formats

  1. click on the Home tab in the group Number at the bottom of the list Number format on more .

  2. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  3. Select from the list Type select the custom number format, and then click Clear.

    Hints:

    • Integrated number formats cannot be deleted.

    • All cells in the workbook that were formatted with the deleted custom format appear in the default "Standard" format.

Create custom number formats

  1. click on the tab beginunder number in the pop-up menu Number format on Custom.

  2. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  3. Choose from the list Type select the built-in format that is closest to the format you want to create. Example: 0,00.

    The selected number format is displayed in the field Type displayed.

  4. Edit in the field Type the number format codes to create the exact format you want. Example: 000-000-0000.

    The changes do not affect the built-in format. A new custom format will be created instead.

  5. When the process is complete, click OK.

Apply custom number formats

  1. Select the cell or range of cells to be formatted.

  2. click on the tab beginunder number in the pop-up menu Number format on Custom.

  3. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  4. Select from the list below Type the format you just created. Example: 000-000-0000.

    The selected number format is displayed in the field Type displayed.

  5. click on OK.

Deleting custom number formats

  1. click on the tab beginunder number in the pop-up menu Number format on Custom.

  2. Click in the dialog box Format cells under category on Custom.

  3. Select from the list Type select the custom number format, and then click Clear.

    Hints:

    • Integrated number formats cannot be deleted.

    • All cells in the workbook that were formatted with the deleted custom format appear in the default "Standard" format.

See also

Number format codes

View dates, times, and currencies, fractions, and percentages

Highlight patterns and trends using conditional formatting

Show or hide zero values

View numbers as postcodes, social security numbers, or phone numbers