Microsoft Excel – putting negative numbers in brackets

Rather than having negative numbers with a minus sign in front of them, some people prefer to put negative numbers in brackets.

To do this, select the cell or range of cells to be formatted, then if using Microsoft Excel 2003 or earlier, click Format – Cells and ensure the Number tab is uppermost. If using Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010,2013 or 2016, then on the Home tab, in the Number group, click the dialog box launcher. In either case, the Format Cells dialog box will be displayed. In the Category section, click Custom and then choose the format nearest to the one you wish to adapt.

In the Type box, adapt the format to be your required choice; in the box above I might change it to #,##0;(#,##0). Click OK. Any negative numbers should now be shown in brackets.

Find out more about our Microsoft Excel training Sydney, Australia.

Find out more about our Microsoft Excel training London, Surrey, Middlesex or our Microsoft Excel training Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire.

About jdonbavand

I am a trainer of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project and Crystal Reports. I have called my blog "If Only I'd Known That...." because I hear it so many times in training sessions. In fact, if only I had a £100 for every time someone says "If only I'd known that." ....
This entry was posted in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Excel 2003, Microsoft Excel 2007, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Excel 2013, Microsoft Excel 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Microsoft Excel – putting negative numbers in brackets

  1. Lesley says:

    A brilliant blog – I enjoy reading your posts. Lesley

  2. Tanya says:

    This is good information, but how do I make this the default?

  3. Jorge says:

    Thank you! You helped me with my homework 🙂

  4. Pranil says:

    iIt Dint work for me….AS I type (200) when I hit enter the bracket goes missing and no. gets to -200…plz help me

  5. Cheryl says:

    It’s possible to set up your excel programme to open up with settings that you choose by using workbook templates. The other alternative is to use a macro for setting changes so that it’s quicker to use.

  6. ashish mehra says:

    If you want to know more about “formatting-a-negative-number-with-parentheses”, check this link ……..

  7. Anwar says:

    Thank You

  8. thanks alot…. it really helpfull…. i have solved many of my broblems… thanks for sharing

  9. Prabath Dhananjaya says:

    thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge

  10. Xolile says:

    Thank you so much it really helped me a lot

  11. Radhakrishnan says:

    Thank you very much for sharing

  12. murtighazi says:

    Thanks very much for sharing!

  13. hrishikesh says:

    thank you very much

  14. Jill girgilani says:


  15. Ammar Hajip says:

    I want to make if the cells is negative number write Down and if the cells is positive number write up how I do this in excel ??

  16. Monika says:

    GREAT help! thanks!

  17. Usama Tariq says:

    Thank you very helps

  18. Bilal Bashir says:

    Perfect. Thanks very much.

  19. Deepak Bhardwaj says:

    thanks it is working

  20. Shea Salena says:

    hi guys this will replace the negative to bracket, set it under Custom
    _-* #,##0.00_-;* (#,##0.00);_-* “-“??_-;_-@_-

  21. Nikhil Mulik says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s