How to format a column or row as currency.

At least as often as not, when journalists work with numbers, money is involved. Government budgets, lists of contracts or grants, and lists of salaries are but a few examples of times we use spreadsheets with a lot of currency figures in them.

Excel makes it easy to reformat a range of numbers as currency. Simply highlight the column(s) or row(s) that you wish to have appear as currency. Then, click on the currency formatting button on the toolbar, the one with the dollar sign. That’s it. Instant money. Excel automatically assumes two decimal places, and inserts a dollar sign by default.

If you don’t want dollars, highlight the cells as before, then on the format menu select cells. Under category, pick currency. You can now pick a range of currency symbols/styles. You can also use the format cells menu to change the default number of decimal places used.

Below is a picture of the format cells dialog box, with currency selected.