Apply currency symbols in Excel spreadsheet data.

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Excel is widely used by many users including accountants and those who work in accounting related jobs to keep records of financial transactions.  The currency format command is available in the Number Format command group under the Home tab on the Ribbon.

When a range of data cells or column is selected and currency format is applied, what Excel does is the number is formatted with the default currency symbol which is the Dollar Symbol ($) in many cases. There are 151 countries in the world and each have their own currency symbols. So by default, it is set to dollar ($) and it’s up to the user to change it to his/her local currency symbol.

Changing the default currency symbol in Excel.

When it comes to changing the default dollar symbol ($) to the user’s local currency symbol, most make the mistake of trying to change it in Excel by simply trying to delete the symbol and replacing it with the new symbol  or type the symbol first followed by the amount. In either case Excel will accept the data entry but the entry is recognized as text data because of the currency symbol character or letter.  Once a data in a cell Excel is recognized as text data by Excel, it will not apply any formula to it. The formula will return a  #VALUE!  Error.

So to change the default currency symbol in Excel, it has to be done from the Control Pane settings.

  1. Type “ctrl” without the “ “ marks in the windows’ search box on the bottom left corner of taskbar on the screen.
  2. From the pop-up menu, click on Control Panel
  3. From the Control Panel window, click on Clock & Regions
  4. Under Region, click Change Date,time,or number format
  5. In the Region dialog box, click Additional Settings button
  6. In the Customize Format dialog box, click on the Currency tab at the top
  7. Type your local currency symbol in the Currency Symbol Textbox. Default is $ symbol. Replace it with your local currency symbol. (See figure 1 below.)
  8. Click OK to apply it.
  9. Click OK to close the Region Dialog box.
  10. Close the Control Pane window

Figure 1-Currency symbol text box.

Now, go back to Excel and you will see that currency symbol is replaced with your local currency. If you apply currency number formatting to new numeric data in a cell or range of cells, Excel will apply the local currency symbol because it is now your default currency symbol.

Format to other currency symbols in Excel

If there is a need to format a number data to another currency symbol, other than the local currency, there follow the following steps.

  1. Select the cell, range of cells, or column that you want to apply the currency format.
  2. Point the mouse pointer side the selected/highlighted area and right-mouse click and click on Format Cells (see figure 2 below.
  3. From the Format Cells dialog box, select or highlight Currency in the Category list box.
  4. Then in the Symbol download list, scroll and select the currency symbol you want to apply.
  5. Click OK  to apply

Figure 2. Choose other currency symbols in Excel

That’s  how simple it is to apply your locally currency symbol  as default and also other currency symbols when you need them.