How to change data format in Excel – Excel Interview Question

How to change data format in Excel?


Excel can present values into following 11 different formats:

[vtftable ]
Format;;;Usage;;;Example;;;Actual Value;nn;
General;;;Not specific number format;;;1.5;;;1.5;nn;
Number;;;general display of numbers;;;1.50;;;1.5;nn;
Currency;;;general monetary values;;;$1.50;;;1.5;nn;
Accounting;;;line up the currency symbols and decimal points in a column;;; $1.50 ;;;1.5;nn;
Date or Time;;;Date OR Time Format;;;1/01/1900 12:00:00 PM;;;1.5;nn;
Precentage;;;multiply the cell value by 100 and display result with a % symbol;;;150%;;;1.5;nn;
Fraction;;;(e.g. ½);;;1 1/2;;;1.5;nn;
Scientific;;;Display Scientific representation of a value;;;1.50E+00;;;1.5;nn;
Text;;;Treat everything in a cell as text even if it is a number;;;”1.5″;;1.5;nn;

However, Excel actually stores values differently and specification to those data format is usually changing the way how the value is presented.

There are 2 ways a user to change how excel present the value in a cell:

  1.  The Home Ribbon
  2. Format Cell Window

The Home Ribbon

Home RibbonHome Ribbon

You can change the data format of your cell in the Home Ribbon under the “Number Group”. By simply Click on the drop-down list and you will able to see all available formats for Excel.

(Windows PC)
(Windows PC)


Excel in Ipad
Excel in Ipad

Click he format you want and it will change automatically

The Format Cell Window

Format Cells Window
Format Cells Window

 Another way to change the data format of a cell is to use the Format Cell Window. This format cell window not just allow you to change the format of a cell, but also to change other formats like

  • Alignment
  • Bordering
  • Font Face
  • Filled Color
  • And to protect the cell

There is three ways to access to this windows

  1. Right click the cell(s) that you want to change the data format and click “Format Cells”OR
  2. Click “More Number Format” from the dropdown in the  number groupOR
  3. Click the small button at the right corner of the “Number” group

For information about other Ribbons please visit

Introduction to Excel Ribbon – Excel Interview Questions

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