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3 Ways to Apply Comma Style in Excel to Format Numbers

Whenever we talk about formatting numbers in Microsoft Excel training, I’m always sure to mention comma style in Excel. Comma style is a number format like the accounting number format but there’s no currency symbol.

Comma style incorporates a thousands separator and two decimal places. It also indicates zero values with a dash and displays negative numbers in parenthesis to present numbers in a consistent, very legible way.

The screenshot below shows a comparison between the general number format and comma style. I think the thousands separator makes comma style much easier to read.

General vs Comma Style
General format vs comma style

The numbers in the spreadsheet (above) are all whole numbers so, if you don’t want to display two decimal places, you can eliminate them. Just select the cells and click the Decrease Decimal button (twice) in the Home > Number group to eliminate the decimals.

In this article, I’ll share 3 ways to apply comma style in Excel.

1) Use the Comma Style Button on the Ribbon

One of the most obvious ways to apply comma style in Excel is with the Comma Style button on the ribbon.

Simply drag to select the cells you want to format then click the Comma Style button in the Home > Number group.

Comman Style button
The Comma Style button on Excel’s ribbon

2) Use a Keyboard Shortcut

Everyone loves keyboard shortcuts! If you want to apply comma style to the numbers in your spreadsheet, you need to memorize this keyboard shortcut.

While there is no hotkey for comma style, you can select the cells you’d like to format and press Alt, H, K.

3) Use the Comma [0] Style

If want to apply the comma style number format but you’d rather not display decimal places, you can use the Comma [0] style.

Select the cells you’d like to format then click the Cell Styles button in the Home > Styles group and select Comma [0] at the bottom of the Style gallery.

What’s Next?

I hope you found this article useful. I use comma style in Excel all the time. I like the way it makes numbers more readable and, if you eliminate the decimal places, you can display large numbers without making your worksheet’s columns wider.

If you want more information about formatting, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Basic Formatting in Excel.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.