How to Make Negative Accounting Numbers Red in Excel?

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While working with Microsoft Excel, it’s vital to sometimes label cells with certain values. Users frequently need to indicate negative and positive numbers differently. So, it’s best used to make those negative numbers red. In this article, we will demonstrate three different ways to make negative accounting numbers red in Excel.

How to Make Negative Accounting Numbers Red in Excel: 3 Easy Ways

Negative numbers can be shown using the minus sign, or parenthesis, or by coloring them red with or without parentheses. But while it’s an accounting number, it always comes up with parentheses. But sometimes we can not differentiate them. So, to make the negative accounting numbers red in Excel, we are going to use the following dataset. The dataset contains monthly expenses, and the amount for those expenses is also the balance after those expenses.

make negative accounting numbers red in excel

1. Use Excel Conditional Formatting to Make Negative Accounting Numbers Red

Using Conditional formatting, it is straightforward to draw attention to certain values or particular cells. This alters the appearance of a cell range in accordance with one or more criteria. Use conditional formatting to highlight cells that have values that match predetermined criteria. We can properly make negative accounting numbers red using this. Let’s follow the instructions.


  • Firstly, check that the negative data you are trying to make red are in accounting number format. If not, make that accounting first.
  • To do this, select the data cells.
  • Then, go to the Number Format drop-down menu from the Number group. And, select Accounting.

  • Consequently, go to the Home tab from the ribbon.
  • Further, from the Styles category, click on the Conditional Formatting drop-down menu.
  • Subsequently, go to the Highlight Cells Rules drop-down bar.
  • And, select Less Than…

make negative accounting numbers red in excel

  • This will display Less Than dialog.
  • Now, type 0, under Format cells that are LESS THAN, in with select Red Text from the drop-down option.
  • Furthermore, click on the OK button to complete the procedures.

  • Finally, this will make the negative accounting numbers red in Excel.

2. Apply Built-in Excel Number Formatting To Construct Negative Accounting Numbers Red

Excel offers several formats for numerical numbers. We will color-code the negative integers using the Format Cells dialog box so that they stand out in red. The procedures for utilizing the built-in Excel Number formatting to show negative values in red are listed below.


  • Likewise, the previous method, renders sure the negative data is formatted as an accounting number first before attempting to make it red. Make that accounting first if not. Select the data cells to do this.
  • Then select Number Format from the Number group’s drop-down menu.
  • Moreover, choose Accounting.
  • Go to the Home tab from the ribbon.
  • After that, click on the tiny arrow icon of the Number groups.
  • Alternatively, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 1.

  • This will appear Format Cells dialog box.
  • Next, click on the Number menu and choose Currency from the Category.
  • Then, select the desired red color text currency.
  • Finally, click OK.

make negative accounting numbers red in excel

Note: You can not choose Accounting, cause the Accounting number format does not have any built-in functions to make the numbers red. As Currency is also represented with a dollar ($) sign, that’s why we are choosing Currency here.
  • This will make all your negative account numbers red but in Currency format.

Read More: How to Change Accounting Format in Excel

3. Custom Number Formats to Make Negative Accounting Numbers Red in Excel

This approach is comparable to the earlier one, which makes use of the Format Cells dialog’s Number formats. But this time, we’re going to a different category to tailor the outcomes. The whole procedure for utilizing custom number formats to highlight negative integers in red is shown below.


  • Turn sure the negative data is structured as an accounting number first before attempting to make it red, the same as with the prior way.
  • If not, then do the accounting first. To accomplish this, choose the data cells.
  • Then pick Number Format from the drop-down option for the Number group.
  • Additionally, pick Accounting.
  • Choose the Home tab.
  • Next, choose the Number groups’ little arrow icon by clicking it.
  • Alternatively, type Ctrl + 1 on the keyboard.
  • The Format Cells dialog box will then open.
  • Further, select Custom from the Category by clicking the Number menu.
  • Write down the following format in the Type box.
  • Lastly, click on the OK button to finish the procedures.

  • All of your negative account numbers will turn red in this format while still being in currency.

make negative accounting numbers red in excel

Read More: How to Center Accounting Format in Excel

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Only a limited number of built-in conditional formatting options are available in the online browser version of Excel.
  • Create completely unique conditional formatting rules using the Excel program.
  • There are several color swatches available in Excel.

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The above methods will assist you to make negative accounting numbers red in Excel. I hope this will help you! Please let us know in the comment section if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback.

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Sabrina Ayon

Hi there! This is Sabrina Ayon. I'm really excited to welcome you to my profile. Currently, I'm working in SOFTEKO as a Team Leader. I'm a graduate in BSc in Computer Science and Engineering from United International University. I love working with computers and solving problems. I’ve always been interested in research and development. Here I post articles related to Microsoft Excel. Hoped this may help you. Thank you.

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