Internally, Excel keeps track of all your digits. But, if you’re dealing with a large number, you’re limited to 3 display choices.
- Showing all the digits
- Using scientific notation
- Relabeling the column as, say thousands, and then reducing the number of digits shown.
For example, you might have GDP in a spreadsheet. You can show this as:
- 15.3208 (with a notation many readers won’t notice that this is in trillions)
- Select your cell
- Open a “Format Cells” dialog window (click ALT then H then F then M)
- Click the “Number” tab (or click N)
- Choose “Custom” (sorry, gotta’ click that one)
- Choose the “Type” box (ALT+T)
- Enter one of the the following (for millions, billions, or trillions)
- $#,,” M”
- $#,,,” B”
- $#,,,,” T”
There’s one more exceptionally cool thing about this format: it rounds automatically.