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What is a number format?

A number format is a special code to control how a value is displayed in Excel. For example, the table below shows 7 different number formats applied to the same date, January 1, 2019:

InputCodeResult
1-Jan-2019Yyyy2019
1-Jan-2019Yy19
1-Jan-2019MmmJan
1-Jan-2019MmmmJanuary
1-Jan-2019D1
1-Jan-2019DddTue
1-Jan-2019DdddTuesday

The key thing to understand is that number formats change the way numeric values are displayed, but they do not change the actual values.