Scientific Notation in Excel

Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Excel Scientific Notation

Scientific notation in Excel is a special way of writing small and large numbers, which helps us compare and use the same in calculations.

How to Format Scientific Notation in Excel? (with Examples)

You can download this Scientific Notation Excel Template here – Scientific Notation Excel Template

Example #1 – For Positive Exponent

Now, we will see how to work on Excel with scientific notation formatting. Below is the data for this example that we use. Please copy the above number list and paste it into your worksheet area.

Scientific Notation in Excel Example 1

Copy and paste the first column numbers to the next column.

 Example 1.0

Now, by selecting the range, click on the dropdown list in excelDrop-down List In ExcelA drop-down list in excel is a pre-defined list of inputs that allows users to select an more in “Number” format.

Scientific Notation in Excel Example 1.1.1

At the bottom, you can see the “Scientific” formatting option. Click on this to apply this formatting.


Now, scientific formatting is applied to large and small numbers.

Scientific Notation in Excel Example1.3

Now, take an example of the first instance. General formatting number was 4750528335 and scientific number is 4.75E+09 i.e. 4.75 x 109 (10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10).


Now, look at A6 cell value, general formatting value was 49,758 and scientific value is 4.98E+04 i.e. 4.98 * 104 (10 * 10 * 10 * 10).

Scientific Notation in Excel Example1.5

As you can see, the decimal value should have been 4.97. But, instead, it shows as 4.98. It is because after two digits of decimal third digit value are “5,” it is rounded to the nearest number. So, instead of 97, it will be 98.


If you do not want to see this rounding off to the nearest values, you can increase the decimal value from 2 to 3 digits.

Scientific Notation in Excel Example1.7

Now, we can see scientific numbers in three digits.


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Example #2 – For Negative Exponent

You need to know how negative exponent works with excelExponent Works With ExcelIn Excel, exponents are the same exponential function as in mathematics, where a number is raised to a power or exponent of another number. Exponents can be used by two methods: the power function or the exponent symbol on the more scientific notation. Now, look at the below image.

Scientific Notation in Excel Example2

First value is 0.0055 which is formatted as 5.5E-03, 5.5 x 10-3.


Now look at the second number 4.589, which is formatted as 4.6E+00, i.e., 4.6 x 100

Scientific Notation in Excel Example2.2.0

Things to Remember

  • We must first understand how scientific notation works in mathematics and then learn the same in excel.
  • We can only change the decimal values like 2, 3, and 4 digits.
  • Excel uses scientific format automatically for large and small numbers of 12-digit values or more.

Recommended Articles

This article has been a guide to scientific notation in Excel. Here, we discuss using scientific formatting in excel for positive and negative exponents, examples, and a downloadable Excel template. Below you can find some useful Excel VBA articles: –