Scientific notation is a useful way to write very large numbers. Excel can set it up for you. Let’s learn how to use scientific notation in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use Scientific Notation in Microsoft Excel
Long numbers with many digits take up a lot of space in cells. They’re also difficult to read. In many applications, particularly advanced mathematics, numbers like this are written in scientific notation.
Consider the number 764,482,394,440,395. It’s a bit tough to read, and more so if the commas are removed. It’s a good idea to display this in scientific notation.
Click into the cell to select it. Then, find the Number Format dropdown near the center of the Home tab on Excel’s ribbon. Near the bottom of the dropdown, you’ll see an option for Scientific.
Click this. Excel will now display the number in scientific notation: 7.64E+14.
How to Adjust Scientific Notation Rounding in Excel
7.64E+14 is the default display for this particular number. But Excel gives you full control over how much (or how little) of a number you want to display in scientific notation.
Changes are made by increasing or decreasing the decimal rounding value. This is controlled by the two buttons immediately to the right of and below the Number Format dropdown.
Clicking Increase Decimal adds a visible digit: 7.645E+14. Clicking Decrease Decimal hides a digit: 7.6E+14. This is an easy way to control the look and feel of your Excel spreadsheet.
Once you have your numbers displayed the way you want, you can work with them, just like any other number in Excel. Use them in formulas and calculations, and you’ll be able to quickly manipulate large numbers in a clear and readable way. This is the true benefit of scientific notation, and Excel makes it as easy as can be.