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Excel 2003 Essential Training with Mark Swift is a movie-based workshop for users who are new to working with spreadsheets, or those wanting to improve their skills. This workshop begins with a basic overview of the application and quickly advances to cover useful formulas, functions, techniques for enhancing spreadsheets, charts, and much more. Exercise files accompany the training, allowing you to follow along and learn at your own pace.
And now that we've adjusted the heights and widths of our rows and columns, let's take a look at applying some numeric formats. Number formatting can dramatically improve the readability of the information within your spreadsheet. For example, here, I have intended for you to understand that we have our first quarter sales results for the East, West, North and South divisions. We have four quarters so we have a total of 16 financial results.
You'd be pretty hard pressed though, unless you were just venturing a guess, to know that these were dollar amounts. Here in North America we're accustomed to seeing dollar amounts accompanied by dollar signs and some other punctuators that distinguish them as moneys. So, how can we apply varying numeric formats to our spreadsheets to enhance the appearance and readability? First of all we need to select an area. This is what I call select an effect. So I'm going to click on B2 and I'll run over here to my Formatting toolbar, and I see a dollar sign. This is a currency style. When I click on that it changes the formatting of that cell, not the value 22,190. That value hasn't been changed. Think of it as the container itself having the properties, and the information that's in it just conforms tothose properties. That'll help you a lot when you go to format your go to format your tables, and if you're moving any information and suddenly it changes, you'll understand where that came from. Well that works for single cell or I can select a range, go up here to the Formatting toolbar and select my currency style, all well and good. Now I'm going to select the range C2 through C5, and I'm going to show you the most powerful formatting tool in the entire Microsoft Excel 2003 application. Format > Cells. Take note the shortcut key is Control+1. Formatting cells. This opens up a dialog box that can do all kinds of really cool things, and we're going to look at the different types of formattings as we move forward through future lessons. For right now, I'm worried about the numeric formatting, so I'm on the Number tab, and you can see that by default we have a General format and and that is no format. Here's a sample that describes our formatting. If I select Number, well now I have the option to place some decimals and you can see from this list that I can increase or decrease the number of decimals that are shown inside of that dialog box. By default it's at 2, and here again is the sample that's going to help you visualize what you're going to look at. Well we want the currency setting of course, that's what we've been working with, the dollar sign. We have a comma separating your thousands and a decimal with two decimal places after it, and this again is defined here. We can even change the symbol away from dollars to another currency sign, if we're working with foreign dollar amounts. I go ahead and click OK, and there you go. I have a very familiar numeric formatting. Notice that there are some differences between the format that we just applied and the style that we got from our formatting toolbar. Those can be explained quite simply between currency formatting here and accounting style formatting over here. So if we go back to the Format Cells dialog box, and come down to Accounting. Notice in Currency, we had choices for negative values or only positive values. We had a choice of having all in the black or show negative values in the red. With Accounting styles we lose those things. We still have the ability to choose different symbols for different currencies and control our decimal place settings. When I say OK, that's going to show you the dollar sign off to left and then the dollar amount formatted to the right, and that's a very particular style. Let's pick one and select the entire range of cells, and this time to access my Format Cells dialog, I'm going to right-click, go down to Format Cells in the quick menu, and choose Currency. When I do that, because I had a mixed set of cells, it cleared all the formatting, so I'm just going to do that again, and I'll choose Currency and there we go. Let me just deselect my range. Now all of these dollar values have dollar signs, commas separating thousands, and decimals with two decimal places, which is a very clear indicator that we're working with dollar amounts.
Some other types of formatting that you'll find, let me just right-click that. Date and Time formatting, as we talked about earlier when we saw the different types of data that you could enter. When you're entering dates, there are many, many different formats and you can choose the specific type of format that you want your date to appear in in that particular cell. Time is likewise. There's lots of different time formats including 24-hour time. You can work with Percentages, special Fraction and Scientific numeric values, as well as you can customize the way Text values look. Notice that the sample is still showing us our numeric value, but we can format this cell to be text. In that case, the value in the cell is no longer considered a numeric value. It would be seen as a text value, even though it would still be subject to calculations. It's a subtle difference that you may understand later on. We have a Special formatting for zip codes, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and here you can create your own, in Custom. Custom allows you to create different number formats or text formats that you can conform your data to. Again it doesn't change the value that's in the cell, just the way we see the value, and that's the power of numeric formatting.
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