Limiting Input to Two Decimal Places

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 29, 2018)

Ashley wonders how to limit the input of a number to 2 decimal places. In trying to figure it out, she notes that the Data Validation tool does not seem to work for this requirement.

There are two ways you can approach this problem. The first is to use a custom rule in Excel's Data Validation tool. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell where you want to limit the input to two decimal places. (For this example, let's assume you select cell A1.)
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Data Validation tool. Excel displays the Data Validation dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Settings tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Settings tab of the Data Validation dialog box.

  6. In Allow drop-down list, choose Custom.
  7. In the Formula box (which appears when you complete step 5), enter the following formula:
  • Click OK to close the dialog box.
  • This validation formula works because it checks to make sure that the value in A1, when multiplied by 100 and then divided by 1, has no remainder. It will only have this remainder if there are three or more decimal places in the value entered. Validation will also fail if someone tries to enter text into cell A1.

    There are, of course, any number of other formulas you could use in step 6. Here are a few:


    Instead of using Data Validation, there is another approach you could take. This one involves using the following steps:

    1. Select the cell where you want to limit the input to two decimal places. (For this example, let's assume you select cell A1.)
    2. Format the cell as desired, but make sure it is at least formatted to display only two decimal places.
    3. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
    4. Click the Advanced option at the left of the dialog box.
    5. Scroll through the available options until you see the When Calculating This Workbook section. (See Figure 2.)
    6. Figure 2. The Advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

    7. Ensure that the Set Precision as Displayed check box is selected.
    8. Click OK.

    Now, when someone enters a value into the cell you formatted in step 2, it will be rounded to two decimal places automatically, and Excel will make sure that any calculations use the two-decimal-place value.

    The drawback to this approach is that changing how Excel does its calculations (steps 3 through 6) affects the entire workbook, not just the data-entry cell selected in step 1. If this is unacceptable to you, then you should definitely choose the Data Validation approach, discussed earlier.

    ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (889) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

    Author Bio

    Allen Wyatt

    With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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