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Introduction to Leading Zeros in Excel

Excel functions, formula, charts, formatting creating excel dashboard & others

How to Add Leading Zeros in Excel?

Adding leading Zeros in Excel is very simple and easy. Let’s understand how to add leading Zeros in Excel with some examples.

You can download this Leading Zeros Excel Template here – Leading Zeros Excel Template

Excel Leading Zeros – Example #1

As shown below, we have a sample list of random numbers from 10 to 40.

As we can see, all the numbers are positive and do not have any Zeros at the start. They have Zeroes at the end, which makes a valuable addition.

After that, we will get a Format Cells box.

Now from the Category section, go to Custom, as shown below.

Custom is the category where we can customize any defined format or create a new format as required. Here, we need to add leading Zeroes in numbers. So, as we have selected the data already with that only while selecting Custom, it has taken us to General, as shown above. So, for adding leading Zeroes for selected data, select any Zero from the list as shown below.

Now in the Type box, edit the number of leading Zeroes as per requirement. For example, here we have added 3 Zeroes as the numbers we selected are 2nd digit numbers. So the 3 Zeroes in this will add only one leading Zero in the selected numbers, as shown below.

We will see the leading Zeroes in the selected numbers after that, as shown below.

Excel Leading Zeros – Example #2

Another method is where the leading zeroes from any file or table may be removed. For example, suppose we face a situation where we need to import data from any notepad file. And in that file, data already has leading zeros, as shown below.

Once we finish the process, we will get the output of our imported data in text format, as shown below.

We can use this data anywhere, the format will be the same, and it will not eliminate leading Zeroes. If it is required to change the Product number format from text to numbers, this can be done in Format Cell under the Custom category, which we have seen in example-1.

Pros of Leading Zeros in Excel

Adding leading Zeroes in numbers is required to make data in a uniform format.

There might be a situation where you may get data in different number lengths, but to make it equal, if we add the same number of Zeroes, the length will equal all the selected numbers. This properly formats the data.

Cons of Leading Zeros in Excel

In adding leading Zeroes when we import the data, it will no longer be used for numbering functions if the data gets converted into text.

Things to Remember

While importing the data from any file to Excel, if you convert the data into text, then later, you again need to convert that data into a number by using a custom category for adding leading Zeroes.

In format pasting the data, leading zeroes will be removed, so avoid doing so if your selected data is already in the text. There is no problem if we format+ paste converted numbers into text in another format or file. It will remain as it is without changing the format.

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