Using a custom number format to display leading zeros

Applies to: Excel 2010Microsoft Office Excel 2007Microsoft Office Excel 2003

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 for all versions of Excel:
  1. Right Click in a cell, click Format Cells
  2. lick Custom.
  3. In the Type box, type the custom format.
  4. Click OK.