So my question is simple, but I have trouble solving it. I want the cell to show always the first digit, no matter how long the number is - for example if I type 0123 - it displays 0123, and if I type 01234 - it displays 01234. I know I can use the 0000 formula for the first example and 00000 for the second, but the length of the number is not fixed and the first digit must be always displayed since sometimes it could be 0. Thank you in advance for your time.


Your requirement implies that you want to treat the input as text and not as number. There are two ways to accomplish this:

  1. Change the format of the cell to 'Text' (before you enter the data). Afterwards, it will always show exactly what you type.
  2. type a ' (single straight quote) in front of your input. Excel will keep the display exactly as typed (but without that single quote).

If you want to use the input later as a number in formulas, you can simply use VALUE() to get it converted back to a number; although Excel mostly does that automatically, even if it is a text.

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