How to Insert a Dot Between Numbers in Excel

Both the REPLACE function and custom formatting options are helpful when you need to insert dots between numbers in Excel.

With the REPLACE function, we can insert characters in a specific location in a string. Excel also offers a powerful number formatting tool to help us separate numbers by dots.

Let’s take a look at a quick example where we might need to insert one or more dots between numbers in Excel.

Suppose you have a list of items in an inventory sheet. Each unique item is indicated by a 10-digit number such as ‘0003484112’. The first four digits indicate the item category, the next three digits refer to the manufacturer, and the last three digits are unique to the item itself. 

To make it easier to read the serial numbers, you’ve decided to add dots between each section. How can you do this in Excel?

With the REPLACE function, we can add any arbitrary character to a string. For example, REPLACE(“1234567890”;5;0;".") returns the string ‘1234.567890’ where a dot is placed as the fifth character. We can use multiple REPLACE functions in a single formula to keep adding characters in the necessary places.

Users can also take advantage of Excel’s custom number formatting options. For example, if we set a cell to have the formatting ‘00”.”00”.”00’, a dot will be placed after the second and fourth digit.

Now that we know what methods we can use to insert dots between numbers, let’s look at an actual sample spreadsheet that applies these methods. 



A Real Example of Inserting Dot Between Numbers in Excel

Let’s take a look at a real example of an Excel spreadsheet that successfully inserts dots between numbers.

In the example below, we’ve used custom formatting to add a dot after every second and fourth digit. The values in column B are derived from an Excel formula, while the values in column C are duplicates of the original numbers with additional formatting options. 

sample output of methods that insert dot between numbers Excel


To get the values in Column B, we just need to use the following formula:


The REPLACE function replaces part of a given text string with a different text string. The user can specify how many characters from a given position will be replaced. 

In this particular use case, we do not need to replace any characters. Instead, we use REPLACE to insert a character into a given place. First, we use the formula REPLACE(A2,3,0,".") to add a period after the second character. The ‘0’ in the third argument indicates that no characters will be replaced with the dot.

We then take the result of that formula and place it as an argument in another REPLACE to add the second dot after the fourth digit. 

You can make your own copy of the spreadsheet above using the link attached below. 

If you’re ready to try out these methods in Excel, let’s start writing them ourselves!



How to Insert a Dot Between Numbers in Excel

This section will guide you through each step you need to insert dots between numbers in Excel. You’ll learn how we can use both Excel functions and custom number formatting to add characters into a string.

Follow these steps to learn how to use the REPLACE function:

  1. First, select the cell that will hold our modified string. In this example, we’ll add our formula to cell B2.
    select cell to place REPLACE function

  2. Next, we simply add the REPLACE formula mentioned in the last section. Make sure that the cell references are correct. Hit the Enter key to return the modified string.
    add formula to insert dot between numbers Excel

  3. Drag down the formula to fill in the rest of the cells in the column.
    drag formula down to fill column

Alternatively, you can use custom number formatting instead of inserting dots between numbers in Excel. 

First, you must figure out what format to use. For example, if you want to place a dot after every number in a four-digit string, use the string ‘0”.”0”.”0”.”0’ when indicating your custom format.

  1. Select the numbers you want to modify. In this example, we’ve created a copy of our original values in column A.
    copy original string
  2. Next, open up the Format Cells dialog box by using the shortcut Ctrl + 1. For the Category option, select Custom. In the textbox under Type, place the desired custom formatting option. In the example below, we’ve used a formatting option that places a dot after the second and fourth numbers.
    use a string to specify new number format to insert dot between numbers Excel

  3. Click on the OK button to apply the changes to the selected cells.
    final result of new number formatting



This step-by-step guide should be useful if you ever need to insert dots between numbers in Excel. Our guide shows how easy it is to use both the REPLACE function and custom number formatting to add dots in specific places in a numerical string.

The REPLACE function is just one example of a text function you can use in Excel. With so many other Excel functions available, you can certainly find a few that can help improve your workflow in Excel.

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