How to Format Numbers in a Word Table

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Emphasize important values in Word using font and paragraph formatting.
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In Microsoft Word 2013, you can use the Formula command to apply special number formatting -- similar to spreadsheet programs -- to cells in your table. You can also use the most common formatting options to manually adjust the appearance of your numbers. For example, you can change the alignment and direction of numbers using the commands in the "Table Tools Layout" ribbon. You can quickly format text in multiple cells using the Format Painter.


Formatting Numbers With the Formula Command

The Formula command is designed to perform advanced calculations based on values in a table. Use this command to apply special formatting to your numbers. Select the cell in your table you want to format. Click the "Formula" command in the Data group of the Table Tools Layout ribbon. Enter "=" followed by the number you wish to format into the "Formula" field. Select a number formatting option from the "Number Format" drop-down and then click "OK." For example, select "$#,##0.00;($#,##0.00)" to format the numbers as currency with parentheses representing any negative values.


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Font Formatting

You can format numbers in a table using Word's Font commands. Select the numbers that you wish to format. Click the "Bold," "Italic" or "Underline" commands in the Font group of the Home ribbon to emphasize your selected numbers. Select the "Text Highlight Color" or "Text Color" commands to change their color or background. Press "Ctrl-D" to open the Font dialog in which you can further alter the appearance of your selection. Change the "Number Spacing" and "Number Forms" fields on the Advanced tab to adjust the spacing and style of your numbers.


Customizing Lists and Alignment

Text you've entered into a table can be formatted in the same fashion as you would format text in the rest of your document. Select the "Numbering" or "Multilevel List" commands in the Paragraph group of the Home ribbon to automatically create numbered lists. You can also adjust the alignment of your numbers in the cell using the commands in the Alignment group of the "Table Tools Layout" ribbon. For example, click the "Align Center" command icon, resembling three centered lines, to align the text in the center of the cell. Click "Text Direction" to toggle the direction of the text to display the numbers vertically.


Using Format Painter

Instead of manually formatting your text in each, use the Format Painter command to apply the same style to multiple items. Select the text in one of your formatted cells. Double-click the "Format Painter" command in the Clipboard group of the Home ribbon to copy that text's formatting. Select non-formatted text in your table to automatically format it with the settings you copied using the Format Painter. Click the "Format Painter" command after you've finished copying your format settings to disable it and continue editing your document as normal. Formulas are not copied using the Format Painter.