Dollar signs are commonplace in spreadsheets. But you might be wondering how best to work with them. Let’s learn how to use dollar signs in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use Dollar Signs in Excel
Spreadsheets often include many numbers. And in many applications, these will be U.S.-dollar values with a $ sign in front. Excel can handle the $ sign in many different ways.
By default, cells in Excel are formatted General. This is a flexible format that works well with almost any kind of data. Dollar signs, however, will automatically trigger Excel to reformat a given cell.
To demonstrate, click into an empty cell and type $100. Then, hit Enter on your keyboard. Watch the Cell Format dropdown on the Home tab on Excel’s ribbon. Notice, as you press Enter, that the cell format changes from General to Currency.
This impacts the behavior of the cells around the currency. For example, if you’ve placed the $100 figure in cell K1, click into cell K2 and type 30. (Notice, with a $ sign omitted).
Then, click into cell K3 and sum the two cells above:
Excel will recognize the Currency format, and return the value $130 (with a $ sign) in cell K3.
Excel offers a second option for displaying the $ sign. Click back into cell K1 to select it. Then, open the Cell Format dropdown. From it, choose Accounting.
You’ll notice the cell re-format. Accounting is meant specifically for dollar-and-cent applications. The $ sign will snap and lock on the left side of your cell. Your numerical value, no matter how large or small, will have two decimal places (.00) added to the end.
No matter what format you choose, Excel makes it easy to work with dollar signs. You can quickly perform monetary calculations in just a few clicks.