How to Change to Accounting Format in Excel

By Kirk Bennet

Microsoft Excel enables you to create spreadsheets using financial data from other documents. If you need to insert financial data into your document, you can change the format of various cells in your spreadsheet to "Accounting." When you switch to Accounting format, the currency symbol is inserted before every number, all decimals are automatically aligned in the column, zero values are changed to dashes, and parentheses are automatically added around negative values. Changing to Accounting format in Excel 2010 is straightforward, and you can also customize the settings of the format to make sure the cells are properly formatted.

Launch Microsoft Excel 2010 and open an existing spreadsheet or create a new one.

Select the cells that you want to change to Accounting format. Hold "Ctrl" and click each cell to select multiple cells or click the column or row header to select an entire column or row.

Right-click one of the selected cells and select "Format Cells" from the context menu to open the Format Cells dialog box.

Select "Accounting" in the left pane to change the cells to Accounting format.

Select the number of decimal places in the "Decimal Places" box and whether you want the $ symbol displayed in the "Symbol" box.

Click "OK" to save the changes and close the Format Cells dialog box.


You can't change the default display of negative numbers in Accounting format without creating a custom number format.