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Entering a Number with Leading Zeros

There are various ways to enter integers starting with a zero:

  • Enter the number as a text string. The easiest way is to enter the number starting with an apostrophe (for example, '0987). The apostrophe will not appear in the cell, and the number will be formatted as a text string. Because it is a text string, however, you cannot calculate with this number.
  • Format a cell with a number format such as \0000. This format can be assigned in the Format code field under the Format - Cells - Numbers tab, and defines the cell display as "always put a zero first and then the integer, having at least three places, and filled with zeros at the left if fewer than three digits".

If you want to apply a numeric format to a column of numbers in text format (for example, text "000123" becomes number "123"), do the following:

  1. Select the column in which the digits are found in text format. Set the cell format in that column as "Number".

  2. Choose Edit - Find & Replace

  3. In the Find box, enter ^[0-9]

  4. In the Replace box, enter &

  5. Mark the Regular expressions check box

  6. Mark the Current selection only check box

  7. Click the Replace All button