[Fixed!] Excel Not Recognizing Numbers in Cells (3 Techniques)

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While working with Microsoft Excel, you may find yourself in a situation where Excel won’t recognize your numbers. Sometimes, we collect data from another source. After that, we paste it into our worksheet. But, the numbers do not act as a general format. In this tutorial, we will fix the problem of Excel not recognizing your numbers in cells with suitable illustrations and proper explanations.

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Why is Excel Not Recognizing Numbers in Cells?

Before we start the tutorial, we should learn why this happens. When we directly copy and paste any data, it acts as the same data type from the source. If your data is in number format, it will act as the number. If it is in text format, it will behave like text. So, you should keep in mind what type of data you are inserting into your dataset.

Take a look at this dataset:

dataset of Excel Not Recognizing Numbers

We all know numbers always are right-aligned. But, we can see these numbers are left-aligned. Why is this? Sure they are not in number format. You can also see a green triangle in the left corner of the cells.

When you click any of these cells, you will see an error-checking option. Click on that.

numbers stored as text in excel

After that, you will see the reason for this problem. Here, you can see that the numbers are in text format. That’s why they are not acting as numbers.

3 Methods to Fix Excel Not Recognizing Numbers in Cells

In the following sections, we will provide you with three functional and compelling methods for the problem of Excel not recognizing numbers in cells. We recommend you learn and apply all these methods to your dataset. It will surely increase your knowledge of Excel.

To demonstrate this tutorial, we are going to use this sample dataset:

dataset of Excel Not Recognizing Numbers

Here, we have some numbers. But, they are not in number format. We will fix this problem with the upcoming methods. Make sure you read them all.

1. Using Number Format Command  in Cells for Not Recognizing Numbers

Now, this method should be the go-to method for Excel not recognizing numbers in cells. It is simple and easy to use. We can change any format with the help of this command. If you face any of these format problems, you can definitely use this method.

📌 Steps 

First, select the range of cells B5:B10.

select range of cells

Then, from the Home tab, select Number format from the Number group.

select number format in excel

After that, it will convert your data to number format.

excel not recognizing numbers in cells fixed

Now, if you click General format instead of Number, it will look like this:

excel not recognizing numbers in cells fixed

Now, both are in the number formats. Choose your option according to your problem.

So, as you can see we are successful in solving the problem of Excel not recognizing numbers in cells.

Read More: Excel Number Format Not Working (2 Reasons with Solutions)

Similar Readings

2. Using VALUE Function in Excel for Not Recognizing Numbers

Now, in this method, we are using the VALUE function of Excel. The VALUE function is categorized under the TEXT functions in Excel. It converts a given text string to a number into a numeric value. As we saw, our numbers are in text format. So, we can use this function to convert them into numbers.

📌 Steps 

First, create a new column VALUE next to the Numbers column.

Then, type the following formula in Cell C5:


formula for converting to numbers in excel

After that, press Enter. You will see the text converted to a number.

recognizing as numbers in cell excel

Now, drag the fill handle over the range of cells C6:C10.

excel not recognizing numbers in cells fixed

In the end, we successfully fixed the problem of Excel not recognizing numbers in cells with the VALUE function.

Read More: [Solved] Excel Number Stored As Text

3. Use of the Paste Special Command in Excel

Here, this method is a little bit tricky. We don’t use this method too often. But, it will come in handy in a lot of situations. It is pretty simple and easy to perform. Perform this in any dataset after you have found the problem of Excel not recognizing the numbers in cells. It also converts text formatted numbers into number formats. Let’s try this.

📌 Steps 

First, copy any empty cell from your worksheet.

copy any empty cells

Then, select the range of cells B5:B10.

After that, right-click on the mouse. Then, select Paste Special option.

Use of the Paste Special Command in Excel

Now, a Paste Special dialog box will appear. First, select the All except borders radio button. Then, select Add radio button.

After that, click on OK.

excel not recognizing numbers in cells fixed

As you can see, we have successfully used the Paste Special command and solved the problem of not recognizing numbers in cells of Excel.

Read More: How to Custom Format Cells in Excel?

💬 Things to Remember

We are showing the problem as text formats. Your numbers can be in different formats. So, make sure you check the format in the Number group from Home Tab.

If you use Number Formats methods, it will show a green triangle even after it changed to numbers. You have to double-click the cell to make it right-aligned.

The VALUE function will only work if your numbers are in text form.


To conclude, I hope this tutorial has provided you with a piece of useful knowledge to fix the problem of Excel not recognizing numbers in cells. We recommend you learn and apply all these instructions to your dataset. Download the practice workbook and try these yourself. Also, feel free to give feedback in the comment section. Your valuable feedback keeps us motivated to create tutorials like this.

Don’t forget to check our website ExcelDemy.com for various Excel-related problems and solutions.

Keep learning new methods and keep growing!

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A.N.M. Mohaimen Shanto
A.N.M. Mohaimen Shanto

Hello! I am Shanto. An Excel & VBA Content Developer. My goal is to provide our readers with great tutorials on various Excel-related problems. I hope our easy but effective tutorials will enrich your knowledge. I have completed my BSc in Computer Science & Engineering from Daffodil International University. Working with data was always my passion. Love to work with data, analyze those, and find patterns. Also, love to research. Always look for challenges to keep me growing.

  1. didn’t work for me, I do not have the green triangle in any of my cells; therefore none of your methods worked. I know what the problem is, it is a space after the number finishes, however, I have tried to get rid of the space, but cannot find a way that works via formula, only physically going in to each cell and manually removing the blank space at the end of each number – do you have any solutions for this please?

  2. Thank you Shanto, I have tried all the formulas in your link for removing blank space after number; none worked 🙁 The only one I haven’t tried is the VBA code, fingers crossed this one works … I shall let you know. Can I email the spreadsheet to you if not? 🙂

    • Hey Luna, did you solve the problem using the VBA code? If you face further problems, feel free to share them in the comment box. We are eager to help you to get the desired result.

  3. You should not need VBA, you should be able to use trim() or left() or Right() or mid() functions to remove space. I had a different problem, none of these methods worked for me but on the Home toolbar on the RHS is a Clear Formatting (eraser icon) function. When I did that, and combined it with the =value() function as well as copy and paste values only back into the same column, i was able to fix. Unbeliveable that this is necessary and that Format > Number just does not work sometimes.

    • Hello JB,
      Thank you for your feedback. Admittedly, like everything else, Excel has its downsides too and sometimes the solution to a problem can be quite surprising, but whatever works! Right?

      That said, we’re delighted that you’ve shared your experience with us, hopefully, other people find this useful. Have a good day.

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