How to stop Excel from deleting zeros.

Working with numerical data in Excel can be challenging when the software automatically removes leading zeros, potentially altering the data’s integrity. However, there are ways to prevent Excel from deleting zeros and ensure accurate representation.

Suppose you have an Excel sheet containing product codes for an inventory management system. The dataset includes the following column: Product Code. In this tutorial, we will explore effective methods to stop Excel from removing leading zeros, safeguarding the precision of your data. Now let’s take a look at the Dataset.

Method – 1 Using Apostrophe

Placing an apostrophe in the cell before the number instructs Excel to disregard cell formatting, preserving the original entry. This prevents automatic formatting even if the cell format is changed back to General, ensuring consistent display without auto-formatting by Excel.

Step – 1 Select the cell and add zeros normally

  • Select the cell in which you want to add a leading zero.
  • Add the zeros but Excel will remove all these leading zeros by default as shown.

Step – 2 Add the Zeros with the Apostrophe

  • Now add an Apostrophe in front of the zeros in the cell and then press Enter.
  • This time the data will be entered with leading zeros. This is the simplest method to do it.

Method – 2 Converting the Numbers to Text format.

To prevent Excel from deleting zeros, another common method is to format the worksheet or a group of cells as Text before entering the data. This ensures that Excel displays the data exactly as entered, preserving the zeros.

Step – 1 Select the cells.

  • Select a group of cells.
  • Next, you can Right Click within the cells you have selected.
  • In the Context menu that will appear click on the Format Cells command.

Step – 2 Add the data with leading zeros

  • In the Dialog box that will appear select Text as the format method for your cells
  • Then click OK. 
  • Input your data and it will display exactly as entered.


Preserving leading zeros is crucial for maintaining data accuracy in Excel. By utilizing techniques like formatting cells as text, using an apostrophe, or importing data as text, you can prevent Excel from deleting zeros and safeguard the integrity of your data. Applying these methods ensures that your numerical values remain unaltered, providing a reliable representation of the original information.