How to Type a Negative Number in MS Excel

By Norm Dickinson

Microsoft Excel 2010 is a spreadsheet program that offers the ability to perform advanced mathematical functions and display data using a variety of graphical tools. Numbers can be displayed in positive or negative form, as decimals, percentages, fractions or in scientific notation. Format individual cells to show numbers with as many decimal places as needed to indicate precision or for clarity.

Step 1

Launch Microsoft Excel 2010.

Step 2

Click on a blank cell.

Step 3

Press the "Minus" sign ("-") on the keyboard and immediately press the desired numbers on the keyboard. Press "Enter," "Tab" or an arrow key to save the number, and move to an adjacent cell.

Step 4

Right click on the cell with the negative number displayed. Click "Format Cells" on the context menu.

Step 5

Click the "Number" tab and click the desired format name in the left column to display options for that particular number format. Click the desired options for the number on the right. The options will vary by the type of number format being used.

Tips & Warnings

  • Negative numbers can also be entered by typing the number in a set of parenthesis.
  • Save the spreadsheet before making changes to prevent data loss.