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How to change how excel displays negative numbers

This article will show you how to display negative numbers in parenthesis.

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

Negative numbers in Excel

In Excel, the basic way to format negative numbers is to use the Accounting number format.

This option will display your negative number in red.

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

But for some reports, negative numbers must be displayed with parenthesis. Let’s see how to do that.

Customize your number format

To display your negative numbers with parentheses, we must create our own number format.

Open the dialog box “Format Cells” using the shortcut Ctrl + 1 or by clicking on the last option of the Number Format dropdown list.

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

Or by clicking on this icon in the ribbon

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

Code to customize numbers in Excel

Excel can return 4 different display formats for a number. There are parameters for:

  • 1st position: Format for Positive value
  • 2nd position: Format for Negative value
  • 3rd position: Format for Zero
  • 4th position: Format for Text

The order of the parameters are:

Positive value;Negative value;Zero;Text

You also need to specify how the number will be returned.

  • Use 0 to display number or 0 if empty
  • Use # to display number or nothing

For instance, if you have the number 123

  • The code #### will return 123
  • With the code 0000 the display will be 0123
  • And with the code ###0.00 the display will be 123.00

Code to return negative number in parenthesis

So with this information, we can easily create a format for negative numbers between parentheses.

  • For the positive number: ###0.00
  • For the negative number in parentheses: (###0.00)

The code you need to enter in the “Type” field is:

So you write this code in the Custom field of the Format Number

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

The display of negative numbers is now πŸ˜€πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

And if you also want to add the color red for those numbers, you just add the color setting in to code between bracket.

How to change how excel displays negative numbers

Start Excel with your custom parameters

You can save your customs format number in a template and load then when you open a new workbook. The method is explain in this article.