Easily Dividing Values by 1000

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2021)

In some worksheets Mustafa has many tables that contain values in the millions (six digits) and he wants to reduce them to, for example, thousands. He wonders if there is a simple shortcut to make that reduction without going into each cell and dividing by 1,000.

Assuming you don't want to take the route of creating a formula that actually does the division, there are a couple of ways to go about this. First, if you really want to divide the values by 1,000, you could use the Paste Special feature of Excel:

  1. In a blank cell somewhere, enter the value 1000.
  2. Select the cell and press Ctrl+C. This copies the value to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the cells that you want to divide by 1,000.
  4. On the Home tab of the ribbon, click the down-arrow under the Paste tool. Excel displays a few options for your pasting pleasure.
  5. Choose the Paste Special option. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  7. In the Operation area of the dialog box, select the Divide radio button.
  8. Click OK.

That's it; all the cells you selected in step 3 are divided by 1000. You can also delete the value you placed in the cell in step 1.You should be aware that the Paste Special will work on all cells you selected, even if those cells are in hidden rows or columns.

If you don't want to permanently modify your data, you could create a custom format that will display your data as if it were divided by 1,000. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to format.
  2. Right-click the range to display a Context menu, from which you should choose Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Number tab is displayed.
  4. In the Category list, choose Custom. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. In the Type box enter "##,##0.00," (without the quote marks).
  7. Click OK.

The cells now appear as if they've been divided by 1,000, even though the original values remain in the cells. If you prefer to "divide" by 1,000,000, then you can place two trailing commas in the custom format in step 5.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11229) 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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