Designing Custom Numeric Formats

In addition to using Excel's preformatted number format settings, you can create your own formats. Here's how it goes: Choose the Custom category on the Number tab in the Format Cells dialog box. You'll see format codes in the Type list on the right. Choose one of the codes as a starting point for the custom format you want to design. Then make your changes to the existing code you selected.

The next To Do exercise gives you a chance to create a custom numeric format. Using the Summary sheet in the Sales workbook, create a custom format that displays a dollar sign followed by one space with commas and zero decimal places.

To Do: Create Your Own Numeric Format

  1. Select the cell that contains the number you want to format; in this case, select cell B9.

  2. Choose Format, Cells. The Format Cells dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Number tab.

  4. In the Category list, click Custom.

  5. In the Type list box, choose #,##0. The code displays in the Type text box. This entry is a starting point for designing your custom format.

  6. In the Type text box, click before the first #, and type $ followed by a space. Excel shows you a formatted sample number in the Sample box, as shown in Figure 9.3. This custom number format displays a dollar sign followed by a space with commas and zero decimal places. This custom format is stored at the bottom of the Type list.

    Figure 9.3. A custom format in the Format Cells dialog box.

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    You can reuse all modified custom number formats within a worksheet without retyping them. Excel stores all customized formats at the bottom of the Type list. That way, you can select them over and over. However, if you create a custom format for one workbook, you have to re-create the format for other workbooks.


  7. Click OK. Excel applies the custom format to the number you selected.

  8. Click any cell to deselect the range.



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