Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Displaying Negative Percentages in Red.

Displaying Negative Percentages in Red

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 10, 2016)

It's easy using Excel's built-in number formats to display negative values in red. What isn't so obvious is how to display negative percentages in red. This is because Excel doesn't provide a built-in format that addresses this situation.

There are two distinct ways you can display negative percentages in red. One way is to use a custom number format. Precise details on how you put together custom formats has been covered in other issues of ExcelTips, so here is the quick way you can get the desired results:

  1. Select the cell (or cells) that may contain negative percentages.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the lower-right corner of the Number group. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box, with the Number tab selected.
  4. In the Category list, choose Custom. The dialog box changes so you can enter a custom format. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. In the Type box, enter the following: 0.00%;[Red]-0.00%
  7. Click OK.

The format you specify in step 5 displays positive percentages with two decimal places and displays negative percentages in red with two decimal places. (You can modify the number of decimal places in the format, if necessary.)

The other way that you can display negative percentages in red is to use conditional formatting by following these steps:

  1. Select the cell (or cells) that may contain negative percentages.
  2. With the Home tab of the ribbon displayed, click the Conditional Formatting option in the Styles group. Excel displays a palette of options related to conditional formatting.
  3. Choose New Rule. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  4. In the Select a Rule Type area at the top of the dialog box, choose Format Only Cells that Contain.
  5. Using the left-most drop-down list in the criteria area, select Cell Value. (This option may already be selected, by default.) (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.

  7. Make sure the center drop-down list is Less Than.
  8. In the box to the right of the second drop-down list, enter the numeral 0.
  9. Click Format. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box with the Font tab selected. (See Figure 3.)
  10. Figure 3. The Font tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  11. Use the Color drop-down list to choose the shade of red you want used for the negative percentages.
  12. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog.
  13. Click OK to close the New Formatting Rule dialog.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6816) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Displaying Negative Percentages in Red.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding Related Words

One part of the grammar tools provided with Word is a thesaurus that helps you find all sorts of word variations. One type of ...

Discover More

Setting Spell-Checking Options

The spell checker can come in handy when entering data in a worksheet. Because the type of data you enter can vary so much ...

Discover More

Picking a Desktop Icon Size

Are the icons on your desktop displayed at the right size for your preference or needs? Windows provides three different ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Getting Rid of Leading Zeros in a Number Format

Excel, by default, displays numbers with a leading zero, if they are less than 1. Here's how you can get rid of those leading ...

Discover More

Notation for Thousands and Millions

When working with very large numbers in a worksheet, you may want the numbers to appear in a shortened notation, with an ...

Discover More

Creating Two-Line Custom Formats

Creating custom formats is a very powerful way to display information exactly as you want it to appear. Most custom formats ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.