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Display numbers in scientific (exponential) notation

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The Scientific format displays a number in exponential notation, replacing part of the number with E+n, in which E (exponent) multiplies the preceding number by 10 to the nth power. For example, a 2-decimal scientific format displays 12345678901 as 1.23E+10, which is 1.23 times 10 to the 10th power.

Follow these steps to apply the scientific format to a number.

  1. Select the cells that you want to format. For more information, see Select cells, ranges, rows, or columns on a worksheet.

    Tip: To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

  2. On the Home tab, click the small More button  next to Number.

  3. In the Category list, click Scientific.

  4. Using the small arrows, specify the Decimal places that you want to display.


    Tip: The number that is in the active cell of the selection on the worksheet appears in the Sample box so that you can preview the number formatting options that you select.

Also, remember that:

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    To quickly format a number in scientific notation, click Scientific in the Number Format box (Home tab, Number group). The default for scientific notation is two decimal places.

  • A number format does not affect the actual cell value that Excel uses to perform calculations. The actual value can be seen in the formula bar.

  • The maximum limit for number precision is 15 digits, so the actual value shown in the formula bar may change for large numbers (more than 15 digits).

  • To reset the number format, click General in the Number Format box (Home tab, Number group). Cells that are formatted with the General format do not use a specific number format. However, the General format does use exponential notation for large numbers (12 or more digits). To remove the exponential notation from large numbers, you can apply a different number format, such as Number.

10 New Ways to Display Your House Numbers

Top-Down Approach


Distinctions™ Floating Mount House Number in Black; available on Amazon.

So, you think you don’t have enough space on the exterior of your home to display your house number? Follow the lead of one resourceful homeowner who skipped the hassle of drilling into brick and instead mounted the numbers vertically on an underutilized porch column. Here, black five-inch numbers from Distinctions™ mounted on an elegant ivory pillar make for a classic color combination that is easy on the eyes and easy to read—even from a distance!

amazon. com

On the Fence


Distinctions™ Flush Mount House Number in Satin Nickel or Black; available at Lowe’s.

In a surprising departure from the expected, the homeowners of this elegant estate installed four-inch flush mount house numbers from Distinctions™ on an exterior surface that offered fantastic contrast: the painted wood privacy fence. The four-inch numbers are perfectly positioned so that neighbors and passersby can spot the address almost instantly, while a bright metallic finish makes the numbers appear crisp and legible against the sleek white backdrop.

Wallflower No More


Distinctions™ Floating Mount House Number in Satin Nickel or Black; available at Lowe’s.

Showcase your address—and your green thumb—by embellishing the exterior of your home with a house number plaque that does double duty as a wall-mounted planter for seasonal (or artificial!) blooms. Take a cue from Elsie Larson’s artful entryway: An address plaque and planter painted to match the exterior hue lets the metal finish of theses five-inch floating numbers from Distinctions™ really shine in the sun.

Garage Glamour


Distinctions™ Flush Mount House Number in Black; available on Amazon.

House numbers offer an opportunity to give your garage door a little polish—and practicality. Choose a set that best matches the style and color of your garage’s existing hardware—for example, these four-inch ebony flush mount numbers from Distinctions™—then mount them directly above the garage door. Die-cast zinc house numbers create a prominent display that is both attractive and weatherproof.

Right Frame of Mind


Distinctions™ Flush Mount House Number in Brushed Nickel; available on Amazon.

This cottage-style abode has its framed house number plaque to thank for its picture-perfect exterior. To make your home’s entry equally photogenic, consider securing four-inch nickel flush mount numbers from Distinctions™ inside a vintage oval frame, minus its glass. (The DIY Show-Off even spray-painted the frame to match the numbers!)

The Grass Is Greener on Your Side


Distinctions™ Floating Mount House Number in Polished Brass; available on Amazon.

Nothing lets you mark your turf at your new digs quite like a set of wow-worthy house numbers nestled, literally, in a bed of turf. Re-create this nature-inspired decor by filling a frame with artificial grass, then topping it with five-inch polished brass numbers from Distinctions™. Hanging this lush and luxurious plaque at eye level by the entry of your house will enhance any other green accents nearby, like a front door wreath or potted shrubs.

Let There Be Light


Distinctions™ Stick-On Domed House Number in Gold; available on Amazon.

If your house guests can never seem to find your address after dark, give them a guiding light by mounting house numbers beneath an exterior sconce. When the sun sets, flick on the light, and voilà—the numbers’ gold finish truly shines! Whether in the light of the sun or of a stylish outdoor sconce, these domed four-inch numbers from Distinctions™ appear bolder than most sets on the green address plaque and improve the visibility of your address at any time of day.

Knock On Wood


Distinctions™ Floating Mount House Number in Black; available on Amazon.

A homemade plaque, be it ever so simple, is hard to beat! Here, some stain and a weatherproof sealant transform a single piece of scrap wood into the perfect background for making those all-important address numbers really pop. Thin five-inch black «floating» numbers from Distinctions™ carry a bigger punch of personality against the wood than they would have if they had been installed directly to the stucco exterior of this modern, minimalist entrance.

Out-of-the-Box Mailbox


Distinctions™ Flush Mount House Number in Brushed Nickel; available at Home Depot.

A step up from the average mailbox, this stone veneer surround with its flush mount metal numbers from Distinctions™ delivers style and sophistication as it welcomes guests and even receives mail. Mounted below the mailbox in a slight recess, the four-inch numbers get a dramatic treatment: The depth draws the eye during the day, and a small light at the top of the recessed space illuminates the metallic numbers after dusk.

Raise the Roof


Distinctions™ Flush Mount House Number in Brushed Nickel; available at Home Depot.

Crafted from pallet wood and suspended by ropes from the roof, this unconventional house number plaque outside the Upcycled Ugly household makes a playful addition to the front porch—one that also doesn’t require so much drilling into the actual exterior. Nickel-plated steel house numbers from Distinctions™ set against an alternating backdrop of light- and dark-stained wood planks artfully marry modern and rustic design elements.

Don’t Miss!

If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!

iOS time typography improvements

I recently launched my YouTube channel Pimp my Type on . Its goal is to help you improve the design of your website, app, or digital product with the power of typography. This article is a transcript of the first issue with some additions.

In the first issue, I talk about something that has been driving me crazy for a long time: the time display in iOS. Every minute when the numbers change places, it just annoys me. Find out why Apple made the current decision, how we could improve it, and what lessons we can learn from our projects.


If you take a close look at the iOS lock screen below, you’ll see one annoying detail. I recreated it in Figma and when I switch the minutes, you can see the time jump. This is especially noticeable when the time is switched from one to one, which is the narrowest digit. In order to improve this display, we first need to figure out what these numbers are.

Time display in native iOS design with annoying shift when changing time

Numbers in typography

There are two styles of : old style figures (also known as minuscule or old style figures) and heading figures (lining figures). Old style numerals have different heights . It’s like a typical line of running text, so they blend in better with it.

Old-style numerals have different heights and show ascenders and descenders

On the other hand, there are head digits, also called modern ones, which are basically the same height as capital letters. They work best when used alone, in user interfaces or time displays. This is the more common style of numbers.

Heading digits have the same height as capital letters

Now, in addition to these two styles, there are two spacing formats: proportional and tabular. Proportional digits have variable spacing comparable to uppercase and lowercase letters. This spacing maintains an even, balanced color for the rest of the alphabet, allowing the numbers to blend nicely into the horizontal text.

Proportional numbers work better with solid text, tabular numbers work better with vertical alignment

tabular numbers are monospaced. This means that all digits have the same width, so they are vertically aligned, as you can see in this example. This makes them the preferred choice for use in numeric columns such as tables, price lists, and listings. Or in digital typography in places where you don’t want the numbers to jump around, like when showing the time?

Alternative time display for iOS

So let’s take another look at the iOS 13 lock screen. All Apple products and interfaces use the San Francisco font. It’s a well-designed modern sans-serif font, optimized for screens, with lots of Open Type features, alternate characters, and more. San Francisco features proportional and tabular heading numbers. The original time display on the lock screen uses San Francisco proportional numbers. So, let’s change them to tabular and look at the result.

Display the iOS time in tabular numbers. No jumps, but the time almost «falls apart» as the monospaced 1 creates too much empty space around it which makes it seem like they are unrelated. And the problem here is the number 1. To compensate for this, Apple could have added an alternate serif character for the number 1 to fill in the empty space. Some typefaces do just that, like FF Tisa (the font used in the examples above) where it automatically adds a serif 1 when I switch to tabular numerals. Unfortunately, there is no serifed 1 in San Francisco, so for this example I drew it and it looks better than the original tabular 1. 0013

Displays the iOS time in tabular numbers with a serif alternative 1. Spacing is better, but it completely changes the nature of the font to a more technical one.

Spacing is now less of an issue, but the spacing seems to be too much. What annoys me even more is that now the font sets a different tone for the interface. The serifed number 1 makes it more technical, less elegant and simpler.


To come to a conclusion, I compared three options: the original design with proportional numbers, the design with tabular numbers and tabular numbers and an alternative unit. If I knew what I know now, I would have preferred the original design. It’s just smaller and simpler than the alternatives.

Yes, it’s not perfect and I still hate it when numbers jump around, but given the alternatives, Apple made the best choice. This happens at least once a minute, and the shifts aren’t as noticeable when the digit 1 isn’t used. For example, I recently made a counter component that uses tabular numbers to align them.

Counter component design using tabular numbers. When animated, the numbers will not jump as they are all the same width

Share your typography ideas in the comments below!

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