Why Does a Number Not Display Properly in Excel



In Excel, when a number is longer than 11 digits, it is displayed as scientific notation:



The workaround to display these numbers is as follows:

  • Open an empty excel sheet
  • In the menu bar click on FILE
  • in the drop-down click on IMPORT
  • in the pop-up select 'CSV file'
  • select the file you want to open
  • you will see a pop up with the 'text import wizard' (or data text to columns wizard)
  • on the 1rst page select 'delimited' and then click NEXT
  • on the 2nd page select 'COMMA' and then click NEXT
  • on the 3rd page you can change the 'DATA FORMAT'. Find the column with the number that is not displayed properly and change the 'DATA FORMAT' for that column to 'TEXT' rather than 'general'; then click FINISH
  • when prompted to select the cell where to import the date, select cell A1, then click OK



NOTE: to avoid this issue altogether, the processes could be automated to give such numbers a 'Letter' prefix. 

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