Change Number to Text in Excel

Change Number to Text in Excel 

The TEXT function lets you change the way a number appears by applying formatting to it with format codes. It's useful in situations where you want to display numbers in a more readable format, or you want to combine numbers with text or symbols.

Note: The TEXT function will convert numbers to text, which may make it difficult to reference in later calculations. It’s best to keep your original value in one cell, then use the TEXT function in another cell. Then, if you need to build other formulas, always reference the original value and not the TEXT function result.

Technical Details


In its simplest form, the TEXT function says:

  • =TEXT(Value you want to format, "Format code you want to apply")

Here are some popular examples, which you can copy directly into Excel to experiment with on your own. Notice the format codes within quotation marks.




Currency with a thousands separator and 2 decimals, like $1,234.57. Note that Excel rounds the value to 2 decimal places.


Today’s date in MM/DD/YY format, like 03/14/12


Today’s day of the week, like Monday


Current time, like 1:29 PM


Percentage, like 28.5%

=TEXT(4.34 ,"# ?/?")

Fraction, like 4 1/3

=TRIM(TEXT(0.34,"# ?/?"))

Fraction, like 1/3. Note this uses the TRIM function to remove the leading space with a decimal value.


Scientific notation, like 1.22E+07

=TEXT(1234567898,"[<=9999999]###-####;(###) ###-####")

Special (Phone number), like (123) 456-7898


Add leading zeros (0), like 0001234

=TEXT(123456,"##0° 00' 00''")

Custom - Latitude/Longitude

Note: Although you can use the TEXT function to change formatting, it’s not the only way. You can change the format without a formula by pressing CTRL+1 (or Image of the MAC Command button icon+1 on the Mac), then pick the format you want from the Format Cells > Number dialog.

Download our examples

You can download an example workbook with all of the TEXT function examples you'll find in this article, plus some extras. You can follow along, or create your own TEXT function format codes.

Download Excel TEXT function examples

Other format codes that are available

You can use the Format Cells dialog to find the other available format codes:

  1. Press Ctrl+1 (Image of the MAC Command button icon+1 on the Mac) to bring up the Format Cells dialog.

  2. Select the format you want from the Number tab.

  3. Select the Custom option,

  4. The format code you want is now shown in the Type box. In this case, select everything from the Type box except the semicolon (;) and @ symbol. In the example below, we selected and copied just mm/dd/yy.

  5. Press Ctrl+C to copy the format code, then press Cancel to dismiss the Format Cells dialog.

  6. Now, all you need to do is press Ctrl+V to paste the format code into your TEXT formula, like: =TEXT(B2,"mm/dd/yy"). Make sure that you paste the format code within quotes ("format code"), otherwise Excel will throw an error message.

Example of using the Format > Cells > Number > Custom dialog to have Excel create format strings for you.

Format codes by category

Following are some examples of how you can apply different number formats to your values by using the Format Cells dialog, then use the Custom option to copy those format codes to your TEXT function.

Common scenario

The TEXT function is rarely used by itself, and is most often used in conjunction with something else. Let’s say you want to combine text and a number value, like “Report Printed on: 03/14/12”, or “Weekly Revenue: $66,348.72”. You could type that into Excel manually, but that defeats the purpose of having Excel do it for you. Unfortunately, when you combine text and formatted numbers, like dates, times, currency, etc., Excel doesn’t know how you want to display them, so it drops the number formatting. This is where the TEXT function is invaluable, because it allows you to force Excel to format the values the way you want by using a format code, like "MM/DD/YY" for date format.

In the following example, you’ll see what happens if you try to join text and a number without using the TEXT function. In this case, we’re using the ampersand (&) to concatenate a text string, a space (" "), and a value with =A2&" "&B2.

Example of joining text without the TEXT function

As you can see, Excel removed the formatting from the date in cell B2. In the next example, you'll see how the TEXT function lets you apply the format you want.

Example of joining text with the TEXT function

Our updated formula is:

  • Cell C2:=A2&" "&TEXT(B2,"mm/dd/yy") - Date format

Related Videos