Shortcuts to Quickly Change Cell Format in Excel

Microsoft Excel has many formats for entering content inside a cell. By default when you open a workbook, all cells are available in “General” format. Excel will accept text content inside cells without any errors. However, when you enter number inside a “General” formatted cell, you will see a validation error. Here are simple shortcuts to change cell format in Excel quickly.

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Cell Validation Error

In the Excel worksheet, you need to look for tools in the ribbon and then format the menu according to the data you want to enter in the cells. Below is the screenshot of Excel in Office 365 version on Mac. You can change the format under “Home” tab by clicking on the format dropdown box.

Cell Formats in Excel
Cell Formats in Excel

You have to change the desired format before typing the content. Otherwise, Excel will show you error with a green mark on the top left corner within the cell. You can hover over the cell and click on the warning symbol to see more details. For example, when you type number inside a general cell and press enter, you will see “Number Stored As Text” warning.

Number Stored As Text Error
Number Stored As Text Error

Therefore, it is necessary to change the cell format before you enter the content inside a cell.

Shortcuts to Quickly Change Cell Format

However, navigating through menu and changing the cell format is time consuming task. In order not to waste time, Excel provides some shortcut keys for changing cell format. You can find them below:

ShortcutCell Format
Ctrl + Shift + ~General format
Ctrl + Shift + !Number format with two decimals and thousand separator
Ctrl + Shift + @Time format, you can set AM / PM
Ctrl + Shift + #Date format, change the cell value to default date format
Ctrl + Shift + $Currency format, adds the default currency symbol to number with two decimal. Negative value will show with red color and inside brackets.
Ctrl + Shift + %Percentage format
Ctrl + Shift + ^Scientific format

Good part is these keyboard shortcuts for changing cell format will work both on Windows and Mac Excel version.

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Example

Below is an example, how the cell value 123 will change when you apply these shortcuts to change the format:

ValueShortcutResultFormat
123Control + Shift + ~123General
123Control + Shift + !123.00Number
123Control + Shift + @12:00 AMTime
123Control + Shift + #2-May-00Date
123Control + Shift + $¥123.00Currency
123Control + Shift + %12300%Percentage
123Control + Shift + ^1.23E+02Scientific
Apply Cell Format in Excel
Apply Cell Format in Excel

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