How to change the decimal separator in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2010 by default uses the system defined decimal separator. In Windows 8 and Windows 7 this option is defined under the Regional and Language Settings available under Control Panel.

Step 1: Right click on the bottom end corner of Window 8 system and select Control Panel from the menu list (In Windows 7, navigate to Control Panel).

Windows 8 Control Panel

Step 2: In Adjust your computer’s settings screen, click Clock, Language and Region option.

Windows 8, Clock Language and Region

Step 3: In Clock, Language and Region screen, click Change date, time or number formats under Region section.

Change date, time or number formats on Windows 8

Step 4: Click the Additional settings button in the Region window.

Additional Settings on Windows 8

Step 5: In Customise Format window, enter the new separator for Decimal Symbol. Then click Apply and Ok button to save the changes.

Customize Decimal Symbol in Windows

Microsoft Excel also provides users can customize the separator used for Decimals and Thousands using Excel Options. Listed below are the steps to change decimal separator in Excel 2013 and Excel 2010

Step 1: Click File menu and select Options from the menu list.

Step 2: In the Options screen, click the Advanced tab and navigate to Editing section.

Decimal Separator Excel 2013 and Excel 2010

Step 3: Under Editing section, un mark the check box with caption as “User system separators”.

Step 4: Now enter your new decimal separator under Decimal separator field. For this demo we are colon (:) as the decimal separator.

Step 5: Click OK to confirm and save the changes.

Use System Separators - Excel 2013 and Excel 2010 

Also See: How to change decimal separator on Mac OS X Lion

In Category: Excel 2010, Excel 2013, MS Office

Ravi Shankar

A Software developer and blogger who is always looking to provide technical help to the wider community.

Show 15 Comments
  • slantendicular July 26, 2010, 5:48 am

    Thank you; this was useful when looking at my cell phone bill in more depth. Otherwise it just didn’t process the times correctly.

  • Benny February 11, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Thanks! Solved my excelproblem

  • Niko August 4, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Thanks! Very useful tip as I found the same option also in Excel 2007.

  • jipr311 January 21, 2012, 5:44 am


    tnx a LOT!

  • Diana March 2, 2012, 12:26 am

    Thank you sooo much!!! I spent about 2 hours trying to solve this problem

  • Rahul Mathur May 20, 2012, 10:36 pm

    Your suggestion has helped me tremendously. I bought laptop from Dubai. The number format was giving comma separator after every 2 digits. Now I have been able to change it to USA format. Many Thanks

  • Mohamed October 3, 2013, 8:33 pm

    It worked, but after closing the Excel and opening it again

  • Robert September 9, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Works fine, but if I sent the file to somebody else who has other settings, it changes again. How can I put a format in in such a way it is not changed based on the region of any user when shared?

  • Ravi Shankar September 9, 2014, 3:22 pm
  • Robert September 9, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Nice! Thanks.

  • Stefanie April 22, 2015, 4:46 pm

    Thank you so much. Ever since I got my new laptop some existing excel spreadsheets showed commas and point separators and the formulas did not work with a mix of both. This solved my problem.

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