How to Stop Excel from Rounding 16-Digit Numbers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you tired of Excel automatically rounding your 16-digit numbers? You’re not alone. Many users face this issue, but luckily, there’s a simple fix. By following a few easy steps, you can stop Excel from rounding your numbers and ensure that your data remains accurate.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Stop Excel from Rounding 16-Digit Numbers

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what this will achieve. By changing the cell format in Excel, you’ll be able to input and display 16-digit numbers without them being rounded. This is crucial for those dealing with large figures, like credit card numbers or unique identifiers.

Step 1: Select the cells you want to format

Click and drag your mouse over the cells that contain the 16-digit numbers.

Selecting the correct cells is the first and most important step. Make sure you’ve selected all the cells that need to be formatted. If you have a large dataset, you can use the “Ctrl” key to select multiple non-adjacent cells.

Step 2: Open the Format Cells dialog box

Right-click on the selected cells and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the context menu.

The Format Cells dialog box is where the magic happens. It’s from here that you can change how Excel displays and handles your data.

Step 3: Choose the ‘Number’ tab

In the Format Cells dialog box, click on the ‘Number’ tab.

The Number tab contains various formatting options for numbers including the type of decimal and use of thousand separators.

Step 4: Select ‘Text’ as the category

Under the ‘Number’ tab, select ‘Text’ from the list of categories.

By selecting ‘Text’, Excel treats the numbers as strings of text rather than numerical values. This prevents any rounding from occurring.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes

After selecting ‘Text’, click ‘OK’ to close the dialog box and apply the changes to your selected cells.

And just like that, you’ve stopped Excel from rounding your 16-digit numbers. Your numbers will now be displayed exactly as you input them.

After completing these steps, your 16-digit numbers should appear exactly as you’ve entered them. They will no longer be rounded, and you can proceed with your work with the assurance that your data is correct.

Tips: Avoiding Excel Rounding Issues

  • Always double-check the cell format before inputting long numbers.
  • If you’re working with a dataset that regularly includes 16-digit numbers, consider setting the default cell format to ‘Text’.
  • Keep in mind that formatting cells as ‘Text’ may affect how Excel functions like SUM or AVERAGE handle these cells.
  • Copying and pasting numbers from other sources can sometimes trigger Excel’s rounding function. To avoid this, paste using ‘Paste Special’ and select ‘Text’.
  • Use Excel’s ‘Precision as Displayed’ option with caution, as it can permanently round your data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Excel round 16-digit numbers?

Excel rounds 16-digit numbers because it’s designed to handle only up to 15 significant digits. This is a limitation of the software’s numerical precision.

Can I change the precision setting to stop Excel from rounding?

No, changing the precision setting in Excel won’t stop the rounding of 16-digit numbers. The best approach is to format the cells as ‘Text’.

Will formatting cells as ‘Text’ affect my ability to perform calculations?

Yes, formatting cells as ‘Text’ means that Excel will not recognize the numbers for calculations. You would need to convert the text back to a numerical value for computational purposes.

Can I apply the ‘Text’ format to cells in bulk?

Yes, you can select multiple cells, rows, columns, or even an entire worksheet and apply the ‘Text’ format to them all at once.

What if I only want to input a few 16-digit numbers? Do I still need to format the cells?

If you’re only dealing with a few 16-digit numbers, you can precede them with an apostrophe (‘) which tells Excel to treat the entry as text.


  1. Select the cells you want to format
  2. Open the Format Cells dialog box
  3. Choose the ‘Number’ tab
  4. Select ‘Text’ as the category
  5. Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes


Excel is a powerful tool, but it has its quirks. The automatic rounding of 16-digit numbers is one such quirk that can lead to frustration and inaccuracies in your data. By understanding how to stop excel from rounding 16-digit numbers, you take control of your data and ensure its integrity. Remember that while formatting cells as ‘Text’ is a simple solution, it does come with the trade-off of not being able to perform direct calculations on those cells. It’s always a good idea to keep a backup of your original data before making any formatting changes, just in case.

Whether you’re an accountant, data analyst, or simply someone who needs to manage long numbers, mastering this simple fix can save you time and prevent potential errors down the line. So the next time you find yourself scratching your head over mysteriously rounded numbers, just follow the steps outlined in this article and you’ll be back on track in no time. Happy Excelling!

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