Get Rid of Number Signs in Excel

In your early days of working in Excel, you probably saw the occasional cell full of number signs (you might call them pound signs or hash marks).


That’s a sign that the column is too narrow to show the full number, so number signs are displayed instead.

To fix that problem, widen column C, so there is room for the full number. The quickest way to make the column the correct width is to double-click the line between the headings for columns C and D.


Text Cells Filled With Number Signs

What if the column is wide, and the cell contains text, not a number – and it’s full of number signs? In the screen shot below, you can see the text in the formula bar, and the character count (1100) is shown in cell A2. The cell is set for Wrap Text, but the text isn’t being displayed.


In this case, widening the column doesn’t fix the problem – you’ll just end up with a wider column of number signs.

For text cells that are showing number signs, set the cell format to General, instead of Text. It’s a strange solution, because Text seems like the logical choice, when formatting a cell that contains text.


Here is the same cell, with General format.


The good news is that this problem seems to be fixed in Excel 2010.