Bottom line: Learn 8 quick keyboard shortcuts to apply number formatting in Excel for Windows & Mac.
Skill level: Beginner
Download the File
You can download the Excel file that contains the printable shortcut guide below.
Number Format Shortcuts Guide
If you spend a lot of time formatting numbers in Excel (who doesn't?) then you will love these shortcuts. The Ctrl+Shift+Number Key shortcuts allow us to quickly apply some of the most popular number formatting options including: currency, percent, number, date, and time.
Here is a quick guide that explains what each shortcut does.
The diagram shows the Ctrl & Shift keys on the left side. However, you can also use the Ctrl & Shift keys on the right side of the keyboard. This might make it easier to use two hands to press the combination.
To apply the formatting shortcut:
- Press & hold Ctrl
- Press & hold Shift
- Then press one of the number keys at the top of the keyboard.
The format will be applied to the selected cell(s).
The shortcuts work on both the Windows and Mac versions of Excel.
You can use the
General Number Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+~ is the shortcut to apply the General format.
General is the default number format for all cells on a blank sheet. If the cell contains a number then it displays raw numbers without any comma separators, currency/percentage symbols, etc.
Number Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+1 [!] is the shortcut to apply the standard Number format.
The Number format has a separator for thousands, millions, etc. and two decimal places. The characters used for the separator will depend on your locale settings in Windows.
Time Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+2 [@] is the shortcut to apply the Time format.
The Time format displays hours:minutes and AM/PM at the end. Checkout my article on the date system for Excel to learn more about date & time data types.
Date Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+3 [#] is the shortcut to apply the Date format.
This shortcut uses the day-abbreviate month-year format. I don't know of any way to change the shortcut to apply a different date format. It's unfortunate because this is NOT a date format I use very often.
Please leave a comment below if you do know how to change the default date format for Ctrl+Shift+3.
Note: Assigning this shortcut to a macro would be a potential workaround. However, you would lose the undo history when the macro runs.
Checkout my Formatting Shortcuts Add-in for ways around this, plus the ability to create keyboard shortcuts for custom number formats, font & fill colors, and cell styles.
Currency Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+4 [$] is the shortcut to apply the Currency format.
The Currency format display a currency symbol, thousands separator, and red text for negative numbers.
What about the Accounting Format Shortcut?
This was a question that came up from Kim and Gina on the YouTube video. Unfortunately there is no dedicated Ctrl+Shift shortcut, however, there are some alternatives.
One way is: Alt, H, A, N, Enter. That basically presses the Accounting format button on the Home tab of the ribbon.
Another option is to right-click that button and Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Then move it to the first position in the toolbar. The shortcut to press the first button is Alt+1. The second button is Alt+2, and so on. Here is an article that explains more about the QAT shortcuts.
Percent Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+5 [%] is the shortcut to apply the Percent format.
The Percent format display the percent symbol and no decimal places. Please leave a comment below with tips on how you quickly increase/decrease the number of decimal places.
Scientific Format Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+6 [^] is the shortcut to apply the Scientific format.
The Scientific format is typically used for very large numbers. It displays a decimal number, followed by an E (for exponent), and then the power that the decimal number is raised to.
Apply Black Border Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+7 [&] is the shortcut to apply a black border to the selected cell(s).
If a range of cells is selected then the black border will be applied around the entire selection.
Clear All Borders Shortcut
Ctrl+Shift+_ [underscore] is the shortcut to remove ALL borders from the selected cells. If the selection contains borders on the interior cells then those will also be removed.
Therefore, this shortcut is NOT the exact opposite of Ctrl+Shift+7 when a range of cells is selected.
If you have numbers stored as text, checkout these articles:
- Keyboard Shortcuts to Convert Text to Numbers
- Menu Key Shortcuts for Text to Numbers and Right-click Tasks
What Are Your Favorite Ways to Apply Number Formats?
The Ctrl+Shift+Number shortcuts are awesome for quick formatting tasks. However, there are A LOT of different ways to apply number formats in Excel.
What are some of your favorite shortcuts and techniques for applying number formats? Please share your answer by leaving a comment below. Thank you! 🙂