Microsoft Tips – Entering Telephone and Part Numbers in Excel


Whenever you enter anything into Excel the format of the cells is set to “General”. This means that numbers will be aligned to the right and text will be aligned to the left.

As part of that formatting, Excel will delete any 0’s at the start of a number – since numbers do not start with a 0.

When entering telephone numbers this can be a problem, as many phone numbers begin with a 0. Some get around this by typing '0.

 However, there is a quick and easy way to combat this!

  1.  If it is for a range of cells, the quickest method is to select the cells first i.e. a Column (CTRL+SPACEBAR)
  2.  Press CTRL+1 on the keyboard to bring up the Format Cells dialogue box or select the down arrow on General in the Home Tab.
  3.  From the Number tab or from the dropdown select Text and press OK.

 Enter your number – and the 0 will not be deleted when pressing enter – and as the format is text the text will be aligned to the left. 

Seeing green arrows by your text formatting?

  1. If you do not want to see alerts for text then move your cursor towards the green arrow.
  2. Click on the dropdown and choose Error Checking Options.
  3.  Disable Numbers formatted as text or preceded by an apostrophe.
  4. Press OK.

This will then remove the green arrows from all text fields in spreadsheets.

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