Using a custom number format to display leading zeros

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SUMMARY

In Microsoft Excel, you can use either of two methods for using a custom number format to display leading zeros. Use one method for fixed-length numbers and use the other method for variable-length numbers.

Method 1: Fixed-length Numbers

When you want to display leading zeros for a fixed-length number, create a custom format with the same number of zeros (0) as digits that you want to display. For example, if you want to display a fixed-length number with five digits, create a custom number format with five zeros.

Example 1:

Use the 00000 format to display a number with five digits. When you use this format, the numbers that you type and the numbers that Microsoft Excel displays are listed in the following table.
```   Typed number    Displayed number
--------------------------------
28217           28217
1234            01234
```
Example 2:

Use the 00000-0000 format when you want the number to appear as five digits followed by a hyphen and four more digits. When you use this format, the numbers that you type and the numbers that Microsoft Excel displays are listed in the following table.
```   Typed number    Displayed number
--------------------------------
8217            00000-8217
82170000        08217-0000```

Method 2: Variable-length Numbers

When you want to display leading zeros for variable-length numbers, create a custom format with the same number of zeros (0) (in quotation marks) as leading zeros that you want to display, followed by the number sign (#). For example, if you want to format a variable-length number with three leading zeros, create the following custom number format:
"000"#
Example 1:

Use the "0"# format when you want to display one leading zero. When you use this format, the numbers that you type and the numbers that Microsoft Excel displays are listed in the following table.
```   Typed number    Displayed number
--------------------------------
123             0123
45              045
```
Example 2:

Use the "000"# format when you want to display three leading zeros. When you use this format, the numbers that you type and the numbers that Excel displays are listed in the following table.
```   Typed number    Displayed number
--------------------------------
123             000123
45              00045
```

MORE INFORMATION

To create a custom number format, follow these steps:
1. On the Format menu, click Cells.
2. Click the Number tab.
3. Click Custom.
4. In the Type box, type the custom format.
5. Click OK.

Properties

Article ID: 81518 - Last Review: September 19, 2011 - Revision: 4.0
APPLIES TO
• Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
• Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
• Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
• Microsoft Excel 2001 for Mac
• Microsoft Excel 98 for Macintosh
kbhowto KB81518

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