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.

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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 (or 150 Aussie dollars)for every time someone says "If only I'd known that." ....
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One Response to Microsoft Excel – putting negative numbers in brackets

  1. barrydowns says:

    With Windows 10 and Excel 2013 you can make negative brackets permanent without even going into Excel! Maybe other Windows and Excel versions too.
    Go to Control Panel->Change date, time, or number formats->Additional settings->Currency and change “Negative currency format” to “(currency symbol1.1)”. Then apply and OK.
    Now, in Excel->Format Cells->Number you will see two options (one in red and one in black) for negative numbers in brackets.
    And as a matter of interest you will see that some of the “Custom” Excel formats have changed automatically to include brackets

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