This article will show you how to display negative numbers in parentheses.
Negative numbers in Excel
In Excel, the basic way to format negative numbers is to use the Accounting number format.
This option will display your negative numbers in red.
But for some reports, negative numbers must be displayed with parentheses. Let's see how to do that.
Customize your number format
To display your negative numbers with parentheses, we must create our own number format.
Open the dialog box "Format Cells" using the shortcut Ctrl + 1 or by clicking on the last option of the Number Format dropdown list.
Or by clicking on this icon in the ribbon
Code to customize numbers in Excel
Excel offers 4 displays for numbers, in this order
- Positive value
- Negative value
- Zero
- Text
Positive value;Negative value;Zero;Text
You also need to specify how the number will be displayed. And there is 2 symbols for the numbers
- Use 0 to display all the 0 (important to keep the leading 0)
- Use # to display the numbers except the 0 if not necessary
For instance, if you have the number 123
- The code #### (4 #) will display 123 in your cell
- The code 0000 (4 zeros) displays the value 0123
- And with the code ###0.00 the display will be 123.00 (no leading 0 but 0 for the decimals 😉)
Related articles
- Dash for zero in Excel
- Highlight the min and max values automatically
- Free Quizzes for Excel
- Exercises Online for Excel
- Start Excel with your custom format number
Custom Code to return negative number in parentheses
To display negative numbers in parentheses, you will customize the code for negative numbers.
- For the positive number: ###0.00
- For the negative number in parentheses: (###0.00)
So, the code you need to enter in the "Type" field is:
#,##0.00;(#,##0.00)
The display of negative numbers is now 😀😎😍
You can improve the display by adding a the red color for negative numbers with the option [red]
#,##0.00;[Red](#,##0.00)
DENIS DADSON
17/07/2023 @ 11:27
All this is fine but it does not seem to work in windows 11. Previously it was possible to change the negative format in numbers or accounting via the Global options in settings. I cannot find it in the Global settings in W11. I get the use of the custom format but I really do not want to have to resort to that every time I get a negative number, nor do wish to use custom format for all my accounts work, where negatives come up frequently. I am very new to W11 and would appreciate how to dela with this problem. It was so simple in 10 and earlier
Michelle Low
14/09/2021 @ 02:55
Thanks !! This solved the problem !
Saad
30/08/2021 @ 12:01
The problem usually is that the standard format defined in the system settings for Negative Numbers is without the (parenthesis). The solution is simple: update the system settings.
Follow this guide from Microsoft:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/negative-numbers-aren-t-showing-with-parentheses-in-excel-682a1cc5-701a-4ce7-92db-cc9eebc5ffa0#:~:text=If%20you're%20using%20Excel,setting%20isn't%20set%20properly.
Rob
26/05/2021 @ 15:40
Is there a way to save this format in Excel so it can be used again?
RK
01/08/2021 @ 04:45
The format will be auto saved, unless you delete. (For all higher versions of excel after 2007)
AndyR
19/04/2021 @ 14:41
Is there a way to do this so that the decimal points are all lined up in the column? In your example the negative numbers are slightly out of line because of the close-parenthesis.
John
09/05/2021 @ 19:49
To line up the decimal point you need to put a space before the ";" in which ever number format you are using.
For example:-
#,##0.00;[Red]-#.##0.00 (already in Custom format list will become
#,##0.00 ;[Red](#.##0.00)
Hope this helps
ARKOM
23/12/2020 @ 05:20
Hi Frederic,
DO you know how to fix if the sample number is not showing ?
Frédéric LE GUEN
12/01/2021 @ 08:33
No
Abdul Muhaimin bin Mohd Zamri
10/11/2020 @ 11:36
THANKSSSSS, SO HELPFUL SINCE MY EXCEL DIDNT HAVE THAT IN THE NUMBER FORMAT :')
EUGENIO BULLA
26/02/2020 @ 23:50
In all new excel we will need to create this code?
Is there any way to save this code permanently in my Excel 2016 costum options?
Frédéric LE GUEN
27/02/2020 @ 09:59
Hi Eugenio,
Yes there is a solution. I write the article today and I will paste the link here
Frédéric LE GUEN
01/03/2020 @ 16:23
Hi Eugenio,
You can find how to load your custom parameters in this article https://www.excel-exercise.com/start-excel-with-your-custom-parameters/
DIAMOND KARIM
15/11/2019 @ 23:41
Once we put ( ) in negative number sign how can we save it so is permanent. Thank you.
Frédéric LE GUEN
26/11/2019 @ 15:04
You mean for all your workbook when you create a new one ?
Tawanda
20/02/2021 @ 18:00
yes