How to Use the $ Sign in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Using the $ sign in Excel is a piece of cake! All you need to do is start by clicking on the cell where you want the $ sign to appear. Then, simply type the dollar sign followed by the amount you wish to display. For example, typing $100 will show up as $100 in the cell. And voila, you’ve successfully used the $ sign in Excel!

After completing this action, you’ll have a cell that displays a value with a dollar sign, indicating currency. This can be particularly useful when you’re dealing with financial data and need to make it clear that the numbers you’re working with represent money.


When it comes to Excel, mastering the art of using the $ sign can make your life a whole lot easier, especially if you’re dealing with any sort of financial data. The $ sign isn’t just a symbol; it’s a tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, from simply displaying currency to fixing a cell reference in formulas. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned Excel user, understanding how to use the $ sign effectively can save you time and frustration.

But why is it so important to know how to use the $ sign in Excel? Well, for starters, it’s crucial for anyone who works with financial reports, budgets, or any other documents where money is involved. It also helps in maintaining consistency and clarity in your data. Imagine handing over a financial report without any indication of currency – it would be confusing, right? That’s where the $ sign comes in handy. So, whether you’re an accountant, a student, a business owner, or just someone who likes to keep their finances in check, this article is for you.

How to Use the $ Sign in Excel

Before we dive into the step-by-step tutorial, let’s first understand what we aim to accomplish. By learning how to use the $ sign in Excel, you’ll be able to display currency values correctly, and more importantly, use the sign within formulas to lock cell references, a feature called absolute referencing. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Inserting the $ sign

Click on the cell where you want the $ sign to appear, and then type it before the number.

When you type the $ sign followed by a number, Excel automatically formats the cell as currency. This means that it will add two decimal places and align the number to the right side of the cell. If you need to display a different currency, you can change the currency symbol by using the ‘Format Cells’ option.

Step 2: Using the $ sign in formulas

Use the $ sign in formulas to lock either the column, the row, or both, by placing it before the column letter, the row number, or both in a cell reference.

Using $ signs in your formulas can be a game-changer for your spreadsheets. If you’re copying a formula across rows or columns, you don’t want your cell references to change. By using the $ sign, you can ensure that certain cells stay constant, no matter where you copy your formula.


ConsistencyUsing the $ sign when displaying currency keeps your data consistent, making it easier to interpret.
ClarityIt immediately communicates to the viewer that the value they are looking at is monetary.
Absolute ReferencingThe $ sign can be used in formulas to lock cell references, ensuring that the correct cells are always referenced.


Confusion with FormulasIf used incorrectly in formulas, the $ sign can cause errors and lead to incorrect calculations.
Over-formattingSometimes, using the $ sign can lead to over-formatting, which can make the data look cluttered.
Limited UseThe $ sign is mainly used for currency and absolute referencing, limiting its use in other contexts.

Additional Information

While the $ sign is a powerful tool in Excel, there’s a bit more to it than just typing it into a cell. For instance, did you know that you can also use the $ sign to convert numbers into currency format without manually typing it every time? That’s right, Excel has a ‘Currency’ format option that does the job for you. Moreover, using the $ sign in formulas can be a bit tricky at first, especially if you’re not familiar with absolute and relative cell references. But don’t worry, with a bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Also, keep in mind that the $ sign in Excel is not just limited to US dollars. You can change the currency symbol to match any currency you’re working with. And for those who are into keyboard shortcuts, pressing ‘Ctrl + Shift + $’ will apply the currency format to a selected cell. So, go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your data transforms into a clear and professional-looking financial document.


  1. Click on the cell where you want the $ sign to appear.
  2. Type the $ sign followed by the number to display currency value.
  3. Use the $ sign in formulas to lock cell references by placing it before column letters, row numbers, or both.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the currency symbol in Excel?

You can change the currency symbol by selecting the cell with the number, right-clicking, choosing ‘Format Cells,’ navigating to the ‘Number’ tab, and selecting ‘Currency.’ From there, you can choose the currency symbol you need.

Why isn’t the $ sign working in my formula?

Make sure you’re placing the $ sign correctly in your cell reference. If it’s not working, double-check to see if you have locked the appropriate column or row reference by placing the $ sign in front of it.

Can I use the $ sign for currencies other than USD in Excel?

Absolutely! Excel allows you to format cells with different currency symbols. Just follow the steps to change the currency symbol as mentioned in the previous question.

What is the keyboard shortcut to apply currency formatting in Excel?

The keyboard shortcut to apply currency formatting is ‘Ctrl + Shift + $’.

How can I remove the currency formatting from a cell in Excel?

To remove the currency formatting, select the cell, right-click, choose ‘Format Cells,’ go to the ‘Number’ tab, and select ‘General’ or any other format you prefer.


Using the $ sign in Excel is a fundamental skill that can elevate the way you present and work with financial data. It’s not just about making the numbers look pretty; it’s about ensuring accuracy and efficiency in your calculations and presentations.

Remember, the $ sign is not just a symbol; it’s a tool that, when used correctly, can make a massive difference in your Excel experience. So, go ahead, embrace the $ sign, and watch as your spreadsheets become more powerful and professional.

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