# How to Enter a Minus Sign in Excel Without Using a Formula?

If you need to enter a minus sign in front of a number in Microsoft Excel without using a formula, there are a few simple ways to do it. Whether you want to format negative numbers, create negative values, or add a minus sign for other purposes, this article will show you how to easily insert a minus sign in Excel directly into a cell.

## Why Enter a Minus Sign in Excel?

There are several common reasons you may want to enter a minus sign in an Excel spreadsheet:

- To
**format a negative number**for display purposes - To
**create a negative value**in a cell - To
**subtract one value from another**visually - To
**indicate a number below zero**or representing a loss

Normally, to get a negative number in Excel, you would enter a **formula** like `=-25`

. But what if you don’t want to use a formula and just want the minus sign to display? Here are some easy ways to insert a minus sign in Excel directly without relying on formulas.

## Method 1: Use the Symbol Menu

One of the simplest ways to enter a minus sign in Excel is by using the built-in Symbol menu:

- Select the
**cell**where you want to insert the minus sign - Go to
**Insert > Symbol**on the Excel ribbon - In the Symbol window, click the
**Symbols**tab - Under
**Font**, select**(normal text)** - Scroll down the list of symbols and select the
**minus sign**(-) - Click
**Insert**and then**Close**

The minus sign will now appear in the selected cell. You can then type the number you want after it. This method is straightforward but requires a few clicks.

## Method 2: Use a Keyboard Shortcut

To save time, you can also quickly insert a minus sign using a keyboard shortcut:

- Select the
**cell**where you want the minus sign to appear - Hold down the
**Alt**key on your keyboard - Using the numeric keypad, type
**8722**(the Unicode value for a minus sign) - Release the
**Alt**key

The minus sign will instantly appear in the cell, ready for you to type a number after it. This shortcut works even if you don’t have a numeric keypad – you can use the regular number keys above the letter keys.

Tips:

- Be careful not to use the
**hyphen**(-) on the main keyboard, as this will be interpreted as a text character, not a minus sign - You can also use
**Alt+045**on the numeric keypad as a shortcut for the minus sign

## Method 3: Copy and Paste a Minus Sign

Another easy way to get a minus sign is to copy an existing one and paste it where needed:

- Find an existing
**minus sign**in your spreadsheet (you can enter one using the Symbol menu or keyboard shortcut if needed) - Select the cell containing the minus sign and press
**Ctrl+C**to copy it to the clipboard - Select the cell(s) where you want to insert the minus sign
- Press
**Ctrl+V**to paste the minus sign

You now have another minus sign you can put a number after. This method is useful if you need to add several minus signs throughout a spreadsheet.

## Method 4: Use Find and Replace

If you have a spreadsheet full of numbers you want to convert to negatives, you can use Excel’s Find and Replace feature:

- Press
**Ctrl+H**to open the**Find and Replace**window - Leave the
**Find what**field blank - In the
**Replace with**field, enter a minus sign (you can use the Symbol menu or keyboard shortcut to insert it) - Click
**Replace All**to perform the replacement

This will locate all numbers in the selected range and put a minus sign in front of them, effectively making them negative.

Caution:

- Make sure to only select the range of cells you want to convert to negative, otherwise it will impact your whole spreadsheet
- This method actually changes the stored values, not just the display, so use it carefully

## Method 5: Format Cells as Accounting

If you want to format numbers as negative for display with a minus sign in front, you can apply Excel’s Accounting number format:

- Select the
**cells**you want to format as negative - Go to
**Home > Number Format**dropdown menu on the ribbon - Under
**Category**, choose**Accounting** - Select the
**Accounting**format option with the minus sign

Your selected numbers will now display as negative with a minus sign in front and parentheses around them, like this: ($1,000).

The Accounting number format is useful for financial spreadsheets where you want negative numbers to be clearly marked with a minus sign, but without changing the actual stored value.

## Drawbacks of Not Using a Formula

While these methods allow you to easily enter a minus sign in Excel without using a formula, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

- The number won’t behave like a real negative value in
**calculations**– it’s just a minus sign displayed in front - You can’t use these “fake” negative numbers in
**functions or formulas**– Excel will treat the minus sign as text - If you change the number in the cell, you’ll need to manually re-type the minus sign each time to keep it negative

For spreadsheets where the values need to be actual negative numbers that can be used in formulas and calculations, it’s better practice to use formulas like `=-25`

to get a true negative number.

## Summary

In conclusion, there are several easy ways to enter a minus sign in front of a number in Excel without using a formula:

- Use the built-in
**Symbol**menu - Use the
**Alt+8722**keyboard shortcut **Copy and paste**an existing minus sign- Use
**Find and Replace**to add minus signs to numbers **Format cells**as Accounting to display negatives

These methods are handy for quickly inserting minus signs for display purposes. However, keep in mind that the number won’t be a “real” negative value that can be used in formulas and calculations. If you need actual negative numbers, it’s recommended to enter them as true negative values using formulas instead.

## FAQs

### What is the easiest way to enter a minus sign in Excel?

### Can I use a keyboard shortcut to insert a minus sign?

### How do I add minus signs to multiple numbers in Excel?

### Can I format numbers as negative without changing the value?

### Will numbers with a minus sign added be treated as negative in formulas?

### What’s the best way to enter real negative numbers in Excel?

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.