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Format Cells as Text in Excel 2013

Learn how to change the cell type to Text in Excel 2013.

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Product/Version: Microsoft Excel 2013
OS: Windows 8

In Excel, the cell type for most of the stuff you type is set to General by default. What does this General mean? This means that the content within the cell is generic and has not been identified as a number, some text, or a date. Depending upon what you are doing with the Excel sheet, it may really not matter if Excel just treats the cell content as General. However, your Excel content may be used to create a chart in PowerPoint, and the chart data may contain some labels that are all digits with no alphabets. A good example of such content is a year, such as 2014, 2015, etc. In these kind of situations, the General format of the cells makes Excel assume that these labels are numbers while executing some commands. This can create a problem, and the solution may be to change the cell formatting to something else other than General -- probably Text, as explained using Excel 2013 here:

  1. Open your Excel data as shown in Figure 1.

    Excel sheet with required data opened
    Figure 1: Excel sheet with required data opened

  2. Select the cells that you want to change the format for. We selected the years shown in column A of the sheet, as shown in Figure 1, above. Then carefully right-click to bring up a contextual menu as shown in Figure 2. Within this contextual menu, select the Format Cells option (refer to Figure 2 again).

    Format Cells options within the right-click contextual menu
    Figure 2: Format Cells options within the right-click contextual menu
  1. This brings up the Format Cells dialog box where you can see that the General option is selected within the Category list, as shown in Figure 3.

    Format Cells dialog box
    Figure 3: Format Cells dialog box

  2. Within the Category list, you can select any other option to format your selected cells as required -- we have selected the Text format as shown in Figure 4. Then, click the OK button.

    Format Cells dialog box
    Figure 4: Text option selected

  3. This will change the format of the selected cells to the choice you just made. In Figure 5 you can see that the selected cells are changed to follow the Text format which is revealed by the changed left alignment of content within the cells (compare with the right alignment within Figure 1, shown earlier on this page).

    Cells with Text format applied
    Figure 5: Cells with Text format applied

  4. Similarly, you can change the type of the cell to follow any other format available within the Category list of Format Cells dialog box.


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