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How to create custom cell formats in Numbers

Save time by creating custom cell formats so Numbers will automatically re-format your data

MainWith the 3.2 update to Numbers, a whole host of new tools and improvements have been added to the data-entry app, most of which provide you with a more advanced level of customisation when it comes to your spreadsheets. The re-introduced Custom Format option enables you to fully customise the behaviour of your cells and tables. By creating a custom format for your cells you can save time by abbreviating inputs into your cells. In these six steps you’ll learn to use tokens to automatically add a currency, commas and decimal points to a string of numbers, as well as how to set up automatic date inputs. Once you’ve mastered custom cell formats you’ll be able to create an incredible amount of different formats and behaviours for your spreadsheets.


Step 1

1 Format options

Create a new spreadsheet. Select a single cell, an entire row or column of cells. Click the Format icon at the top-right of the app then click Cell to display the formatting options.

Step 2

2 Create Custom Format

Click on the drop-down tab under Data Format. Click Create Custom Format. Give it a name and select the Number format type. This will determine what tokens and rules can be added.

Step 3

3 Add tokens

Drag the currency icon into the Custom format bar, followed by an integer token and a decimal token. Add any other tokens you want to use. From the drop-down you can modify a token.

Step 4

4 Test your formatting

Click OK. Now type a number into your selected cell. The custom tokens will automatically be applied to it. Compare this to inputting the same number into a non-formatted cell.

Step 5

5 Date & Time

Create a new custom format. Select Date & Time as a type. Date & Time tokens let you work from the millisecond right up to the era. You can also add text to any custom cell format.

Step 6

6 Using formatted cells

Click OK. Add a date and time to the formatted cell in any format, such as 16/4/14 09:08, then hit Enter. The cell will automatically be formatted to include all of the added tokens.

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