Complex Data Input Limitations

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 15, 2019)

Prakash would like to restrict input data in a cell such that it accepts only a maximum of 11 digits before the decimal point and, possibly, 2 digits after. The input can be either an integer or decimal value, but it can only have a maximum of 11 digits to the left of the decimal and 2 to the right. (Thus, 1234 or 1234.56 would be acceptable, but 1234.567 would not.) Prakash notes that Data Validation doesn't seem to work when you want to limit digits both before and after the decimal point.

Prakash is close to finding the answer, because Data Validation can actually be used. The trick is to create a custom formula that can be used for the validation. Here's a formula that will return either True or False, as is required for Data Validation:

=AND(A1=ROUND(A1,2),ABS(A1)<100000000000)

The formula tests two conditions using AND, with both conditions needing to be true. The first condition checks to make sure that no more than 2 digits are used to the right of the decimal point. The second condition compares the absolute value to make sure it is less than 12 digits. It checks against 12 digits so that a value such as 99999999999.99 is considered valid.

In order to use the formula in Data Validation, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells for which you want the Data Validation applied.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. In the Data Tools group, click the Data Validation tool. (The Data Validation tool is in the Data Validation group if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010.) Excel displays the Data Validation dialog box.
  4. Using the Allow drop-down list, choose Custom. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Data Validation dialog box.

  6. In the Formula box, type the formula noted earlier.
  7. Set any other data validation settings as desired.
  8. Click OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13643) 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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