Convert Text to Numbers – Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Excel has a built-in feature to convert text to numbers, but it can be tricky to use when you are trying to select a long list of cells or multiple rows and columns.  In the video below I describe how to use keyboard shortcuts to accomplish this very quickly.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Convert Text to Numbers

Here's a quick guide for the keyboard shortcuts to select the range of cells you want to convert.

  1. Select any cell that contains the Number Stored as Text error.  You will see a small green triangle in the top left corner of the cell.Number Stored as Text Error
  2. Use the following keyboard shortcuts to select the range:
    Ctrl + A – selects the entire contiguous range
    Ctrl + A Twice – selects the entire sheet
    Ctrl + Space bar – selects the entire column
    Shift + Left/Right Arrow – selects multiple columns
    Shift + Space bar – selects the entire rowShift + Up/Down Arrow – selects multiple rows
  3. The error menu drop-down will now be at the top left or right corner of your selected range.  You can then use the following keyboard shortcut to Convert to Numbers.
    Alt + Menu Key + C – Convert to Number

Excel Convert Text to Number Keyboard Shortcut Alt+Menu Key+C_

The Menu Key is located between the Alt and Ctrl keys on the right side of the keyboard.  If your keyboard does not have a menu key, you can use Shift +F10 as an alternate.


Keyboard Diagram Menu Key Windows_

Alternative Methods

I find the built-in feature to be the fastest, but there are other ways to accomplish this task:

    • Copy a cell containing a 1 and Paste Special>Multiple on the range you want to convert.
    • Use Text to Columns tool on the Data tab (ribbon).  This is limited to one column and doesn't work on rows.
    • Functions – the VALUE() function works well, but there are many ways to do this too.
    • VBA/Macro – write your own code to automate the process

Do you have a different or easier way?  Please leave a comment.


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  • Huge help. Can’t believe it took me 8 years to finally get around to Googling the shortcut for this function. So much time wasted…

    Great video and thank you!!

  • Wow, this article is one of the oldest but still getting visits.
    For me; Ctrl + A Twice is going to save effort and time thanks for sharing.

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  • Big help – all of my database programs export stuff in text. I’ve been looking for a simple shortcut to fix the ‘number stored as text’ error for a good while. Thanks!

  • I just wanted to say thank you so much for this. I had 724 cells in a column and about 300 of them had numbers that I needed to convert from text to numbers.

    I googled the question and thank God I found this site. The Microsoft “Help” site only tells you how to do one cell at a time. They do mention how you can select multiple cells but you have to press CONTROL and click on each cell. Then you can convert.

    Once again, many thanks for help page.

  • Sometimes, excel- converting cells to number all the errors way down and down the sheet can take a lot of time. Use this other method as an additional option.
    Create additional column to multiply a cell by 1
    (ex. =A2*1), then copy formula down. copy and paste them as values the desired column replacing the previous cells with errors.

    Which one is faster? This is case to case and it depends on the file you are working on. One can be faster than the other and vise-versa. That’s why I use both.

  • We can also use the paste special. (source: microsoft website)

    To use the Paste Special command, follow these steps:
    In any blank cell, type the value 1.
    Make sure the cell you typed 1 in is formatted as a number.
    Select the cell in which you typed 1, and then right click and choose Copy.
    Select the cells with the values that you want to convert to numbers.
    Right click and choose Paste Special.
    Under Operation, click Multiply and then click OK.

    • Hi Garveet,

      That is a great suggestion! You can also use my new add-in, Paste Buddy, for this. With Paste Buddy you can create custom keyboard shortcuts for any of the paste special commands like paste values and paste formatting. You can also setup a keyboard shortcut for any of the paste operations like Add or Multiply.

      Checkout the following link to try Paste Buddy.

      Thanks again for this suggestion!

  • Thank you for this tip – it is pretty effective. I’ve noticed that you can only access the Convert To Number menu from the upper left selected cell, this gets a bit frustrating when it is a large group and the process of selection causes the menu to scroll off the main page. Any hints on how to handle this?

    • Hi Veronica,
      Great question! After you have selected your large range of cells, try pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+period(.) Hold the Ctrl key, then press the period(.) key.

      Ctrl+period activates the cells in each corner of the current selection in a clockwise motion. So let’s say you have selected the range A1:G20, and A1 is the active cell (meaning it is white and the other selected cells are shaded blue). Pressing Ctrl+period will activate the top-right cell of the selection (G1). Pressing Ctrl+period again will activate the bottom-right cell (G20). Press it again to activate the bottom-left cell (A20). And again to activate the top-left cell (A1).

      This will still keep the range selected, while just activating and scrolling to the cells in the corners.

      I use this shortcut all the time after I have pasted into a large area, and I want to make sure I didn’t paste over existing data, while still keeping the pasted range selected. It’s a lot faster than scrolling with the mouse!

      I hope the explanation is clear. I will make a video on this technique.

      Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

  • Fantastic. The simple answer seems to be the most efficient and easy to use. I recorded a macro to use text to column, choosing delimited, no boxes checked for format. Works well for a contiuous range in a column, but this video is great for ease of use.

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