The Leading Zero

Are you constantly frustrated with MS Excel, because it keeps removing that leading zero from your inventory number? (Or any leading zero on any piece of data?)

Yeah, me too.

The problem is that Excel automatically sees the data as a number and leading zeros have no value in numbers, so it gets rid of them.

It’s convenient when you’re actually dealing with numbers, but a pain when it’s a part number or an ID number.

A quick way to get Excel to leave your zeros alone is to change the cell format to text.

There are a few ways to make the change, so let’s cover a couple of them.

One way to handle the situation is to first highlight the cells to change. Then go to the Format menu, Cells choice. (Ctrl + 1 works too).

On the General tab, choose Text from the Categories list. Click OK.

Voila, the leading zeros are safe.

If you only have a few cells to change, you could just type an apostrophe before entering the data (for example, instead of typing 0123 in the cell, type ‘0123).

When you hit the Enter key, the change is made instantly, for that cell only, and once again, your zero is safe and sound.

~ April