How to Apply Accounting Format to Selected Cells

 How to Apply Accounting Format to Selected Cells

One out of the very many uses of excel is to help us to apply the accounting format to numbers in selected cells.

In computations involving monetary values, you might be required to input or change a set of values in your dataset to imply a monetary value; this can be made possible with this wonderful function on excel.

This format differs from others in that it aligns items such as decimal points and currency symbols, helping to aid the understanding of numerical data.

Excel is replete with quite a lot of functions which when known and properly used can be a huge blessing to the task of data organization, analysis, and representation.

Accounting firms and organizations that have a lot of data to compile as to their daily activities will be benefited from the versatility of functions on the excel program.

In this piece, I will be taking you through three easy methods by which you can change numbers in excel to accounting format with detailed procedures on the methods.

The reason for bringing to the table three different methods by which we can change numbers to accounting format in excel is so that you will be able to choose whichever of the methods you find most easy and be able to apply it accordingly.

Before we go on to the three steps like I earlier said, we shall be looking at some benefits of being able to apply accounting format to selected cells in excel:

  • Proper annotation of data: for data computations/analysis involving a medium of exchange like money, it is important to properly designate the dataset so that a third party will be able to understand the project.
  • It facilitates the uniqueness of data.
  • It is one of the many functions in excel that helps in data analysis and orientation.
  • It helps to increase the accuracy and uniformity of data.
  • It gives room for making changes or editing already imputed data.
  • If you have a lot of data in numerical form and want to make it look more organized, this format might be quite handy.

The above are some of the important benefits of this function.

Let us now go deeper in the tutorial by considering the methods by which this function can be applied on excel and also see the various procedures involved alongside pictorial illustrations to gain more understanding of the discussion.

Understanding of Accounting Number Format

The accounting number format appears to be similar to the currency system at first glance.

There are, however, a few distinctions between the two.

Let’s look at this distinction:

  • Currency Symbol: The currency symbol is placed to the extreme left of the cell in the accounting number format.
  • Zeroes display: in this format, it is worthy of note that zeroes are represented as dashes
  • Negatives in Parentheses: () is used to represent negative numbers (parentheses). This isn’t something Excel performs automatically.

Methods of Using this Function

We would be discussing three methods for applying the Accounting format to selected cells;

  • Using the Ribbon Option
  • Using a Drop-Down Menu to Apply Accounting Number Format
  • Using the Format Cells Window to Apply Accounting Numbers

Using the Ribbon Option

In Excel ribbon, there is an option there that can allow you to apply the accounting format to your dataset.

To harness this, you first open Microsoft Excel program on your desktop or laptop and then input your dataset into the spreadsheet so that further operations can be performed on it.

In Excel, functions can only be applied to the boundary of your dataset, so your dataset to a large extent determines what and how to apply various functions.

Let us consider an example as shown below.

Step 1: Highlight the data range for price, click on the ‘Home’ tab, go to the ‘Number’ section.

Step 2: Click on the currency ribbon (default currency is $). A dropdown will appear showing other currencies.

Step 3: Select the desired currency, and there you go. The selected dataset would be formatted as an Accounting value.

Using a Drop-Down Menu to Apply Accounting Number Format

Apart from the method explained above, we can also apply the accounting number format from the drop-down menu that shows on highlighting our dataset. Follow carefully.

Like I said earlier for the first method already discussed, open Microsoft Excel on your desktop and introduce your data into the spreadsheet, after which you then mark the data, that is, select the cells containing your data as shown below.

The example above shows the prices of office items formatted as ‘General’ numbers. To change the format to Accounting, we shall follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Highlight the data range for price, click on the ‘Home’ tab, go to the ‘Number’ section.

Step 2: Click on the drop-down menu to change the format from General and select Accounting.

Now, we have all our numbers represented in accounting format and that is all. Easy peasy!

Using the Format Cells Window to Apply Accounting Numbers

Another very easy way of applying the accounting format to the number in Excel is by using the format cell window.

The format cell window has quite a lot of functions it contains that can be applied to various datasets amongst which is the accounting number.

To follow this method, open the spreadsheet just as in the methods earlier discussed, input your data, and follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Highlight your dataset, right-click on one of the cells and choose “Format Cell…”.

This would open the Format Cells window, which contains the various number formats.

Step 2: Under the ‘Number’ tab, select ‘Accounting’.

Step 3: Use the “Decimal Places” option in the right-hand box to set decimal points for your numbers.

Then, from the “Symbol” drop-down option, select a currency.

Step 4: Then click OK at the bottom of the window.

And then we have our desired result!



In this article, we have looked at three easy and straightforward ways of applying the accounting format to numbers in excel.

The three methods have been explicitly explained and covered in this material, the use of ribbon option, the use of drop-down menu, and the use of format cells window.

Making the most of this piece is dependent on your attentiveness to detail.

Once all the steps are properly followed, you will get the desired result.

It is needful for me to also let you know that there are certain things you will do in following the outlined steps that will not make you get the desired result, in all the methods make sure to highlight the boundary of your data so that any function you decide to apply to it will be executed within that boundary.

Also, take note of the correctness of your dataset as excel doesn’t necessarily correct grammatical errors in your dataset, it assumes your dataset has its own keys, and so it’s important to checkup your data over and over again before applying any function on excel to it.

Excel is a program, and as such, the possibility of it making a mistake or not executing a command correctly imputed is low, and so the limitation of excel is hanging on the error or mistake of the user in most cases.

It is important to note however that excel is not case sensitive and as such also gives an output in direct relation with input from the user.

If you’re having any problems at any time along with the procedure, double-check your work to see if you’ve missed anything.

I hope you found this piece applicable and really useful!

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Ovo is a highly specialized Computer and Networking Expert with experience in Windows, Cisco, Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, etc) and Networking engineering. Ovo is a creative, team player that loves sharing his experience with technology with readers to follow along. He has great attention to detail when discussing various technologies, tutorials and guides.