Creating A Custom Number Format
Excel offers many different predefined number formats that you can apply to your data. However, Excel doesn't always have exactly what you need.
For example, if you were an automotive parts dealer and your parts are assigned inventory numbers such as 5-656-5987, typing a lot of these part numbers can get very tedious, especially with inserting the dashes.
What you need here is a custom number format.
Don't worry about all the funny looking symbols you see in the Custom Number Format dialog box. Just remember that the # symbol is a placeholder for the formatted digits of your number. If you want you number to contain leading zeros for part numbers that aren't 8 digits long (as in this example), use 0s in the custom number format instead of the #s (i.e. 0-000-0000). Then, if you enter a number such as 123 it will display as 0-000-0123.
In a future newsletter I will go into more depth explaining Custom Number Formatting.