How to convert numbers to text using Excel TEXT function and other options

This tutorial shows how to convert number to text in Excel 2016, 2013 and 2010. See how to accomplish the task with the Excel TEXT function and use number to string to specify the formatting. Learn how to change number format to text with the Format Cells… and Text to Columns options.

If you use Excel spreadsheets to store long and not so long numbers, one day you may need to convert them to text. There may be different reasons to change digits stored as numbers to text. Below you'll find why you may need to make Excel see the entered digits as text, not as number.

  • Search by part not by the entire number. For example, you may need to find all numbers that contain 50, like in 501, 1500, 1950, etc.)
  • It may be necessary to match two cells using the VLOOKUP or MATCH function. However, if these cells are formatted differently, Excel will not see identical values as matching. For instance, A1 is formatted as text and B1 is number with format 0. The leading zero in B2 is a custom format. When matching these 2 cells Excel will ignore the leading 0 and will not show the two cells as identical. That's why their format should be unified.
    Matching 2 identical cells with different formats Excel ignores

The same issue can occur if the cells are formatted as ZIP code, SSN, telephone number, currency, etc.

Note. If you want to convert numbers to words like amount to text, it's a different task. Please check the article about spelling numbers named Two best ways to convert numbers to words in Excel.

In this article I'll show you how to convert numbers to text with the help of the Excel TEXT function. If you are not so formula-oriented, have a look at the part where I explain how to change digits to text format with the help of the standard Excel Format Cells window, by adding an apostrophe and employing the Text to Columns wizard.


Convert number to text using the Excel TEXT function

The most powerful and flexible way to convert numbers to text is using the TEXT function. It turns a numeric value into text and allows to specify the way this value will be displayed. It's helpful when you need to show numbers in a more readable format, or if you want to join digits with text or symbols. The TEXT function converts a numeric value to formatted text, thus the result cannot be calculated.

If you are familiar with using formulas in Excel, it will not be a problem for you to employ the TEXT function.

  1. Add a helper column next to the column with the numbers to format. In my example, it's column D.
  2. Enter the formula =TEXT(C2,"0") to the cell D2. In the formula, C2 is the address of the first cell with the numbers to convert.
  3. Copy the formula across the column using the fill handle.
    Copy the formula across the column using the fill handle
  4. You will see the alignment change to left in the helper column after applying the formula.
    See the alignment change to left in the helper column
  5. Now you need to convert formulas to values in the helper column. Start with selecting the column.
  6. Use Ctrl + C to copy. Then press the Ctrl + Alt + V shortcut to display the Paste Special dialog box.
  7. On the Paste Special dialog, select the Values radio button in the Paste group.
    Select the Values radio button on the Paste Special dialog box

    You will see a tiny triangle appear in the top-left corner of each cell in your helper column, which means the entries are now text versions of the numbers in your main column.
    You will see a tiny triangle added at the top of each cell in your helper column

    Now you can either rename the helper column and delete the original one, or copy the results to your main and remove the temporary column.

    Note. The second parameter in the Excel TEXT function shows how the number will be formatted before being converted. You may need to adjust this based on your numbers:

    The result of =TEXT(123.25,"0") will be 123.

    The result of =TEXT(123.25,"0.0") will be 123.3.

    The result of =TEXT(123.25,"0.00") will be 123.25.

    To keep the decimals only, use =TEXT(A2,"General").

    Tip. Say you need to format a cash amount, but the format isn't available. For instance, you cannot display a number as British Pounds (£) as you use the built-in formatting in the English U.S. version of Excel. The TEXT function will help you convert this number to Pounds if you enter it like this: =TEXT(A12,"£#,###,###.##"). Just type the format to use in quotes -> insert the £ symbol by holding down Alt and pressing 0163 on the numeric keypad -> type #,###.## after the £ symbol to get commas to separate groups, and to use a period for the decimal point. The result is text!

Use the Format Cells option to convert number to text in Excel

If you need to quickly change the number to string, do it with the Format Cells… option.

  1. Select the range with the numeric values you want to format as text.
  2. Right click on them and pick the Format Cells… option from the menu list.
    Pick the Format Cells… option from the menu list

    Tip. You can display the Format Cells… window by pressing the Ctrl + 1 shortcut.

  3. On the Format Cells window select Text under the Number tab and click OK.
    Select the Text option and click OK

You'll see the alignment change to left, so the format will change to text. This option is good if you don't need to adjust the way your numbers will be formatted.

Add an apostrophe to change number to text format

If these are just 2 or 3 cells in Excel where you want to convert numbers to string, benefit from adding an apostrophe before the number. This will instantly change the number format to text.

Just double-click in a cell and enter the apostrophe before the numeric value.
Add an apostrophe to convert number to test

You will see a small triangle added in the corner of this cell. This is not the best way to convert numbers to text in bulk, but it's the fastest one if you need to change just 2 or 3 cells.

Convert numbers to text in Excel with Text to Columns wizard

You may be surprised but the Excel Text to Columns option is quite good at converting numbers to text. Just follow the steps below to see how it works.

  1. Select the column where you want to convert numbers to string in Excel.
  2. Navigate to the Data tab in and click on the Text to Columns icon.
    Navigate to the Data tab in Excel and click on the Text to Columns icon
  3. Just click through steps 1 and 2. On the third step of the wizard, make sure you select the Text radio button.
    Navigate to the Data tab in Excel and click on the Text to Columns icon
  4. Press Finish to see your numbers immediately turn into text.

I hope the tips and tricks from this article will help you in your work with numeric values in Excel. Convert number to string using the Excel TEXT function to adjust the way your numbers will be displayed, or use Format Cells and Text to Columns for quick conversions in bulk. If these are just several cells, add an apostrophe. Feel free to leave your comments if you have anything to add or ask. Be happy and excel in Excel!


  1. I'm trying to link a cell that has a name in it to another sheet. The cell is actually words, not numbers, but I get either the formula or the number zero as if the cell is reading a formula instead of the words.

    I've tried your solutions to convert numbers to text and it did not give me the name, only 0 or the formula.

    Can you help?

    • first select the cell where you want to get the copied name type = and traverse to the sheet where the name is already present, click on that cell and press ENTER. drag the cell to get other names

  2. Glad I happened upon this Text to Columns solution to this issue! As a Microsoft Partner, please convey to Microsoft that the Text to Columns method is how the standard Format as Text should work!

    For years I've been struggling with the best way to deal with the broken built-in method. I started teaching Excel usage over 25 years ago and have had a career of programming and I can't remember when this issue cropped up. It plagues all areas of data manipulation and transfer into and our of databases where Excel is used as an intermediary--suddenly Identification numbers are corrupted as Scientific Notation versions of the underlying string of numbers. I don't know why anyone, anywhere, would ever want numbers stored in a column along with text used solely as identifiers and not values, to suddenly switch to Scientific Notation when changing to text...if anything, the numeric display should be Scientific Notation if proper and reformatting a column to Text would automatically convert to the original string of numbers.

    There should at least be some simple setting that the experts can make to make this bizarre action take place for those that think it has value and let the other 99.99% of the world be able to use Excel without tripping over this.

    Thanks for listening...I hope you have a voice they'll hear.


  3. There is a much easier and faster way to convert a column of numbers in text format to number format by using the data - text to columns function.

    Suppose your column contains a number like this:


    It will be recognised as "text" due to the apostrohes. Same thing if the number contains commas, like this:


    All you need to do is click of the column, then click the data tab and the text to columns tab. Choose "deliminted". Un-check all the delimiters, like Tab, Semicolon, Comma, Space and so on. Click Next, then Advanced. In the boxes which appears, specify the thousands seperator which is being used by the text number. i.e. an apostrophe in the first case or a comma in the second. Click OK and Finish and all numbers are now in number format.

  4. Hi,thank you very much for your the sharing. I have a case here which cannot be addressed by any of the methods above. I create a pivot and use "customer ID"(which is already transferred to text in backend data) as a pivot filter. But when I use the filter to vlookup the customer name(so that I can get the corresponding customer name when filter changes), it failed. I guess it's still due to the cell format but wonder how to fix it by using a formula. "=text(**,"@") " doesn't work.

  5. Can you plz give me a solution for this
    Eg: What(4) do(2) you(3) want(4)

  6. I need the formula of one value i put in one colums same value i need in another colums . ie. 1275 in one colums another colum one thousand two hundred seventy five only. Pls give me the formula.

  7. I need to know how to input numerical data into a column and have it converted to word text. (Example.....if I type in 3, i want excel to convert it to the color white.) What formula or method do I need to use.

  8. How to convert numeric value ???

  9. This didn't work for me. I've tried absolutely everything and I cannot convert the numbers to stored text.

  10. Hi thanks for the solution it saved so much of time for all my colleagues when we are working with excel.
    i would like to know how can i get day to day update of a particular company share price in excel by using a formula from goggle finance or money control.

  11. Thank You. This Helped.

  12. Hi thanks for the tips. They are very helpful.
    But my issue is that I have few numbers in which I need to add some zeros before them, and then convert to text.
    For eg. 1234567 in number needs to be changed to 001234567 in text. I have a string of thousands of numbers like this. Kindly let me know if there is any shorcut in excel for doing this. Presently I use concatenate.

  13. is it possible to use a formula or conditional formatting to convert a number value into a text string. For example: I have a series of tasks assigned numbers 1 - 5. I'd like to have a text value display in the next column that if A1=1 then B1 would contain the text "submitted" and if A2 = 2 then B2 would contain the text "in progress", A3= 3, B2=support ticket issued... is this possible?

  14. Sorry Just figured out the solution was Text To Columns as posted in above article. Got the answer.

  15. I have a large chunk of data directly extracted from SQL database where a column was previously VARCHAR[20]

    This one column called NationalID randomly shows correct values and values converted to Short Format e.g. 2.55122E+11

    Regular/Correct value format : 255122100995
    Short/Invalid value format : 2.55122E+11

    When I double click on the cell it shows me the
    correct value 255122100995 instead of invalid value 2.55122E+11

    I tried cloning it the the next blank column and converting it to text but still it shows the value only after double click. Since I have lakhs of rows to process I need a formulatory way out

    Am a programmer so not much aware about how to go about this excel issue.

    Kindly guide.

  16. I want to convert costs into a letter code. Currently we use a system where every number 0-9 has a specific letter.

    So, if the cost is 108344, that translates to a code of PXHRKK because the numbers above translate to the letters below:


    How can I automate this translation in Excel?

  17. Hi,

    I have a column of 500 numbers, (1-25) in a column. Each number, 1-25 represents an industry.
    Aerospace and Defense = 1
    Automotive = 2
    Banking = 4

    I need to replace the numbers, 1-25, with the corresponding industry match.

    How do I do this?

  18. Thank you so much for this. You saved my day. Now I can have cash and go to Spar.....Lol

  19. Copy paste from word Actual Figers
    1.11205E+15 1112053000152279
    2.10705E+15 2107053000163925
    5.10105E+15 5101053000292829
    4.10405E+15 4104053000607538
    9.99902E+12 9999024321252
    3.11005E+15 3110053000081445
    4.10305E+15 4103053000342622
    1.21305E+15 1213053000146229
    4.11705E+15 4117053000118075
    2.10105E+15 2101053000222052
    2.21005E+15 2210053000247300
    2.11105E+15 2111053000194473
    2.21205E+15 2212053000177567
    1.12205E+15 1122053000179723
    2.11005E+15 2110053000240877

    how can i Solve this issue,
    Im copying this figers PDF to Word then I'm copy this figers from word to Excel

  20. This article makes Excel bright. Thank you Maria.

  21. Thanks very much. This saved me a lot of time as all the other conversion methods did not work for some reason :-) Happy New Year!

  22. Thanks

  23. i want this thing in ms-excel
    when i type 225 in a cell than two hundred and twenty five should come in other cell.

  24. thanking you so much for this formulas

  25. Hi all
    i'm creating xls doc using openofficexml epplus
    i adding values in xls using ws.Cells("D1").value = 1234
    i would like to get something like simple quote '1234 as description in "Add an apostrophe to change number to text format" with result 1234 in cell but '1234 in text zone
    any idea ? is it a specific value ? formaula ?

  26. can any body guide me how to fix the specific code for tex/name in excel sheet on typing the name we see the result of specified code in required column.

    for example when i type "apple" and its code (100) appear in the required cell.

  27. hi
    How find the length of string For example in cell A1 Dilip sai001 is there so i want count for alphabets only ,if we use Len () means it will count space and numbers also So can u help me

  28. hello madam,

    how to fixed excel sheet in value convert in word .

  29. How to display a numeric value and a string in a excel cell ?

  30. Could you tell me why the excel won't change the number format even if I add an apostrophe in front of them? Is there anything else I should change in the options?

  31. how to convert number to word text
    like 2345 = Two thousand Three Hundred and Forty five only. in rupees

  32. I will try this again. I have several spreadsheets that I am converting from Lotus to Excel. The spreadsheets then connect together to make master spreadsheets. I need to be able to explain a number at times, such as labeling it with a name. In Lotus, I was able to just pick a cell next to the cell to be explained and put text in. But in Excel it gives a #value error.

  33. I need to change one cell in a formula to text. How do I get it to ignore the text in the cell.

  34. Thanks for the tip, super helpful!

  35. I have a text '00123015004471215225' and would like to convert it to number, but after convert it using TEXT function or 'CONVERT TO NUMBER' cell option it convert it to number '123015004471215000' which is not correct. Please suggest.

    • Hello, Mayur,

      Sorry, looks like there is no easy way to achieve this. I'm afraid we cannot help you with this task.

      • √ Numeric value will show if √ is shown in besides column

  36. Can somebody help me for following problem ?

    I want to convert number to text in excel.

    For example if I have 1000 in Cell A1, I need it in text in Cell A2 as Rupees One Thousand only.

    Please help

  37. symbols used to convert numbers to texts

  38. how to convert number to word text
    like 2345 = Two thousand Three Hundred and Forty five only.

  39. how to convert number to word text
    like 2345 = Two thousand Three Hundred and Forty five only

  40. Dear Sir/ Madam,

    What their is any option to convert multiple column into text by using single method or option.


    radha krishna

  41. Thank You Sir
    You saved my lot of time.

  42. Sir Pleas find ,

    • Please advise what is the correct function to use to convert number value to text

        • Your solution is not working when I closed excel than opening it again. How to set up still processing without opened not working?

        • hello
          this is in that format(000-000-000.00)
          i want (00 00 00 000.00) in the format

  43. 3256..........I want to "Thirty two hundred fifty six"
    Please give me suitable answer for above question

  44. 225........."Two hundred twenty five"

    Please give me suitable answer for above question

  45. sir i want currency in text format for Exm:

    "225........."Two hundred twenty five"

    Please give me suitable answer for above question

  46. numeric to text converting formula

  47. The "Text to Columns" method is exactly what we needed. It works better than the Format Cells option because with numbers having lots of digits, Excel put them into Scientific Notation when formatting as text, and that was not at all what we wanted. And this method is simpler than using the Helper column. Thank you.

  48. Excellent.Thank you for the tip.

  49. thanks, it saved my time a lot

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