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The Scientific format displays a number in exponential notation, replacing part of the number with E+n, in which E (exponent) multiplies the preceding number by 10 to the nth power. For example, a 2-decimal scientific format displays 12345678901 as 1.23E+10, which is 1.23 times 10 to the 10th power.

Follow these steps to apply the scientific format to a number.

  1. Select the cells that you want to format. For more information, see Select cells, ranges, rows, or columns on a worksheet.

    Tip: To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

  2. On the Home tab, click the small More button  next to Number.

    Excel Ribbon Image

  3. In the Category list, click Scientific.

  4. Using the small arrows, specify the Decimal places that you want to display.

    Tip: The number that is in the active cell of the selection on the worksheet appears in the Sample box so that you can preview the number formatting options that you select.

Also, remember that:

  • To quickly format a number in scientific notation, click Scientific in the Number Format box (Home tab, Number group). The default for scientific notation is two decimal places.

  • A number format does not affect the actual cell value that Excel uses to perform calculations. The actual value can be seen in the formula bar.

  • The maximum limit for number precision is 15 digits, so the actual value shown in the formula bar may change for large numbers (more than 15 digits).

  • To reset the number format, click General in the Number Format box (Home tab, Number group). Cells that are formatted with the General format do not use a specific number format. However, the General format does use exponential notation for large numbers (12 or more digits). To remove the exponential notation from large numbers, you can apply a different number format, such as Number.

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