I am an Office 365 subscriber and Excel runs nearly perfectly for me. Every issue I had with the software, I was able to solve by googling around, except this hair pulling glitch I am having (for a long time actually).

Whenever I try to format any cell containing a number (or NOT containing a number and receiving a number post-formatting) as Currency/Accounting, my cell will display like this:

the cell shown in the image contains the number 100 formatted as United States dollar

To make it clear, the cell shown in the image contains the number 100 formatted as United States dollar. The cell type becomes Accounting, and if I try to use Currency, the same thing will happen. Even the samples available in Number Format options are displayed like this:

like this.

Parallel to that, I have a ton of weird custom number formats defined that seem incorrect. If I try to delete any of these custom number formats, Excel crashes. This happens even in Excel safe mode.

Things I attempted to solve the problem:

  • Complete uninstallation and reinstallation of Office multiple times (Both using the built-in installer, Microsoft FixIt tool and third-party uninstallers);
  • Searched for registry keys associated with Office and deleted them;
  • Switched number formats under Windows;
  • Googled everywhere for this problem, found a few mentions of the issue but with zero solution, including a thread on Microsoft's community forums. Tried registering there only to receive an error stating that "This action is not available right now" or something similar;
  • Tried changing the default language used by Office;
  • Tried to change the decimal separator in Advanced Settings, both using the "System separator" option and specifying a custom separator;
  • As mentioned above, tried to use Excel safe mode, and the crashing bug will always persist;
  • Tried also installing the 32 bit version of Office instead of the 64 bit version.

In my view this is a very rare problem that few people have faced, might be specific to my system. It doesn't look like the cause is within Office, but rather outside, somewhere in Windows. I have not succeeded in isolating it so far.

I am running Windows 8.1 Pro x64, with English (US) language but with a different language configuration for the keyboard layout. Any ideas?

  • It sounds like corruption. Try opening the files in another spreadsheet app (LibreOffice is free and compatible if you don't have Google Sheets set up). If the formatting is messed up there, also, the issue is in the spreadsheets, themselves (and probably Excel because it put it there). If it looks OK in another spreadsheet app, the issue is just in how Excel is displaying the content. Is the issue just with an existing collection of spreadsheets or does it happen when you create a new spreadsheet file from scratch? (cont'd) – fixer1234 Sep 10 '18 at 3:43
  • Try creating a new spreadsheet in another app, save the file, and open it in Excel. See if that has the same problem. – fixer1234 Sep 10 '18 at 3:43
  • @fixer1234 The problematic formatting is not just display, it is actually saved to any created worksheets and persists across computers (although it does not affect the value of any cells). But what is causing the problem is not on Excel, as I have thoroughly uninstalled Office multiple times. – ServerSauce Sep 10 '18 at 13:22
  • You can run into a situation where the master template or one of the associated files inside the .xlsx archive gets corrupted. In that case, reinstalling Excel or opening the old file on another computer won't change it. You can narrow it down by creating new files from scratch on the reinstalled Excel with no old files open or use of old or custom templates, and creating new files from scratch on another computer, or better, another spreadsheet app on another computer. See how those behave. If those are OK, you just need to clean up the old corrupted files. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Sep 10 '18 at 13:41
  • But if those exhibit the same problem, there's either something wrong with Excel (possibly even the installation package), or something else is going on with that computer (a bad Excel add-in, conflict with some other software, some odd system configuration perhaps related to languages or locale settings, etc.). – fixer1234 Sep 10 '18 at 13:41

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