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How to Show Negative Numbers in Excel (4 Quick Tricks)

You may have created datasheet and format numbers in your Excel worksheet. But sometimes your data may contain negative values and you need to show your negative numbers in some other way. If you really need to do so, then you have landed in the right place! In this article, I will show you how to show negative numbers in Excel.

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Formatting Negative Numbers

Negative numbers are described usually by putting a negative sign (-) at the beginning of a number in an Excel workbook. But Excel also allows you to format the negative numbers on the basis of how you wish to show them on your worksheet. While entering negative values on the worksheet, you just have to put the (-) sign at the start.. And then you can change it as per your choice like parenthesis and color.

4 Quick Tricks to Show Negative Numbers in Excel

In this section, you will find 4 easy and quick tricks to show negative numbers in your Excel workbook. Let’s check them now!

1. Use Number Format to Show Negative Numbers

Let’s say, we have got a dataset of the cash flow statement of a company for 3 consecutive months. The monetary (in USD) value for income of the company is denoted with positive numbers and the outward cash amounts (which decrease the balance) are denoted by negative numbers.

Dataset to shoe Negative Numbers in Excel

Here, let’s use the Number Format to show negative numbers for our concerning dataset.

For demonstrating this method, proceed with the following steps.


  • First of all, select the data> right-click on the mouse> select Format Cells.

Show Negative Numbers in Excel

  • Now, the Format Cells dialogue box will appear. Here, from the Number menu, choose Number from the Category box.
  • You will see four options for Negative Numbers:
  • Negative sign (-) at the beginning
  • Red color text
  • Enclosed with parenthesis
  • Red color text & enclosed with parenthesis

Hence, choose an option from the list (i.e. enclosed with parenthesis)> click OK.

Show Negative Numbers in Excel

  • Here, the selected cells will show the negative numbers enclosed with parenthesis.

Show Negative Numbers in Excel

By following the steps above, you can quickly format your negative numbers in Excel.

Read More: How to Add Negative Numbers in Excel (4 Easy Ways)

2. Showing Negative Numbers with Custom Format

For our previous set of data, I will now show our negative numbers with a custom format. For executing this method, follow the steps below.


  • Firstly, select the cells containing the numerical value.

  • Then, press CTRL+1 to open the Format Cells dialogue box. Here, from the Number Menu, click Custom from the Category box.
  • Now, select a format type and click OK. I have chosen the following:


Show Negative Numbers in Excel

So Excel allows you to customize and show the negative numbers as you want.

Read More: How to Count Negative Numbers in Excel (3 Easy Ways)

3. Use Conditional Formatting to Show Negative Numbers

With the same set of data, I will now show the use of conditional formatting. In order to do so, proceed as the steps below.


  • First of all, select the numbers.
  • Then, go to the Home tab> click Conditional Formatting> select Highlight Cells Rules> choose Less Than.

  • Then, a box will show up. Enter 0 in the Format cells that are Less Than box and assign a format (i.e. Red Text) and click OK.

  • Finally, your cells will return negative values with red colors.

Show Negative Numbers in Excel

So, following these steps will allow you to apply conditions and then format your negative numbers.

Read More: Excel Formula to Return Zero If Negative Value is Found

4. Use of Accounting Format for Negative Numbers

If you are dealing with a numerical value that denotes currency, then you can also apply the Accounting Number format. Here, we will now show the trick to use the Accounting Number format for the same set of data as numbers in the data denotes monetary value. In order to demonstrate this method, proceed in the following steps.


  • Firstly, select the cells, go to the Home tab> click Number Format> select Accounting.

So easy, isn’t it? You can format and show your negative numbers in the blink of an eye in this way!


In this article, you have learned how to show negative numbers in Excel. I hope from now on you can quickly show negative numbers in an Excel workbook. If you have better methods, questions, or feedback regarding this article, please don’t forget to share them in the comment box. This will help me enrich my upcoming articles. For more queries, kindly visit our website ExcelDemy. Have a great day!

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Hey there! I am Md. Rafiul Hasan. Currently I am working as an Excel & VBA content developer. I like new ideas and want to explore the field of innovation. Excel has saved our worktime and made it easy for us to quick calculations. I am trying to make it easier for you to overcome the obstacles you face while working on Excel. Stay connected!

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