How To Stop Google Sheets From Changing Numbers

Google Sheets, just like other spreadsheet software, has a feature that automatically formats the data you input into it. While this is immensely useful in many situations, there are times when it becomes a nuisance, especially when dealing with numbers. You might have noticed how Google Sheets sometimes changes your numbers to dates, removes leading zeros, or modifies large numbers to scientific notation.

So how do you stop Google Sheets from changing your numbers? This blog post will guide you through the process.

1. Change the Cell Format to Plain Text

The easiest and most versatile solution is to change the cell format to Plain Text. This will prevent Google Sheets from applying any automatic formatting to your data. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the cells you want to format.
  2. Click on Format in the menu.
  3. Hover over Number in the drop-down menu.
  4. Then select Plain Text.

2. Prevent Automatic Date Formatting

If Google Sheets is changing your numbers to dates, you can input the numbers as text by preceding them with an apostrophe (‘), like this: ’01/02/2022. Google Sheets will then treat the number as text and will not change it to a date. However, the apostrophe won’t appear in the cell.

3. Stop Automatic Conversion to Scientific Notation

If you’re working with large numbers and Google Sheets keeps converting them into scientific notation, changing the cell format to plain text might not be feasible, especially if you want to perform calculations with those numbers. Instead, you can format the cells as Automatic. Here’s how:

  1. Select the cells you wish to format.
  2. Click on Format in the menu.
  3. Hover over Number in the drop-down menu.
  4. Then select Automatic.

In conclusion, while Google Sheets’ automatic formatting feature is generally helpful, it can sometimes change your data in ways you don’t want. Fortunately, you can easily prevent this by altering the cell format in your spreadsheet. Remember that understanding how to properly use and control these features is key to making the most of Google Sheets.