How to Truncate in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Truncating in Excel can be a handy tool when you want to shorten the number of characters in a cell. It’s a simple process that can save you a lot of formatting headaches. Essentially, the TRUNC function in Excel allows you to cut off the decimal portion of a number, leaving you with an integer. Now, let’s dive into the steps on how to truncate in Excel.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Truncate in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s clarify what we’re about to accomplish. After following these steps, you’ll be able to truncate numbers in Excel, meaning you’ll cut off the decimal portion of a number and be left with a whole number.

Step 1: Select the Cell(s) You Want to Truncate

Click on the cell or drag your mouse to select multiple cells where you want to apply the truncation.

This step is crucial because it sets the stage for where the truncation will occur. Make sure you’ve selected the right cells to avoid any unnecessary mistakes.

Step 2: Enter the TRUNC Function

Type “=TRUNC(number, [num_digits])” into the formula bar, replacing “number” with the cell you’re truncating and “[num_digits]” with the number of decimal places to truncate.

The TRUNC function is what does the magic in this process. It takes two arguments; the number you want to truncate and the number of decimal places you want to remain after truncation. If you don’t specify the number of decimal places, Excel will assume you want to truncate to a whole number.

Step 3: Press Enter

After entering your formula, hit the Enter key to apply the truncation.

Once you press Enter, Excel will perform the truncation, and you’ll see the result in the cell you selected. It’s that simple!

After completing these steps, you’ll notice that the numbers you’ve selected now display as whole numbers with no decimal places. This is because the TRUNC function has done its job and truncated the numbers as per your instructions.

Tips for Truncating in Excel

Truncating can be a powerful tool when dealing with large datasets or when you need to format numbers in a particular way. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use truncation to remove decimal places without rounding the number.
  2. Remember that truncating a negative number will bring it closer to zero.
  3. You can also truncate text strings by using the LEFT or RIGHT functions instead of TRUNC.
  4. Combining the TRUNC function with other Excel functions can help you create more powerful formulas.
  5. Check for errors in your truncation formulas to ensure accuracy in your data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between truncating and rounding in Excel?

Truncating cuts off the decimal without considering its value, while rounding takes the value into account and may increase or decrease the whole number as a result.

Can I truncate to a specific number of decimal places?

Yes, by specifying the number of decimal places in the TRUNC function, you can cut off a number at your desired decimal place.

Is it possible to truncate text in Excel?

While the TRUNC function is specifically for numbers, you can use the LEFT, RIGHT, or MID functions to truncate text strings.

Will truncating a cell change the cell’s format?

No, truncating a cell’s value won’t affect the cell’s format, but the displayed value will change to reflect the truncation.

Can I undo a truncation if I make a mistake?

Absolutely, you can use Excel’s Undo feature (Ctrl + Z) to revert the cell back to its pre-truncated state.


  1. Select the cell(s) you want to truncate.
  2. Enter the TRUNC function.
  3. Press Enter.


Truncating in Excel is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance the readability and presentation of your data. Whether you’re dealing with financial figures, scientific data, or any other type of numerical information, knowing how to truncate can help you maintain consistency and clarity in your spreadsheets. Remember, the TRUNC function is your friend here, and with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to wield it with ease. If you ever find yourself stuck or needing a bit more assistance, there are plenty of resources available online that can offer further guidance on how to truncate in Excel. Don’t hesitate to explore and deepen your understanding of this useful feature!

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