Correctly Formatting Zips in Excel

Excel will often, by default, chop off the initial zero in a string of numbers beginning with zero. This can cause problems when you are trying to upload accurate zip codes, which begin with zero for several East Coast states.

To tell Excel to keep the initial zero for a set of zip codes, or to add the zero back in where it has been removed, this is what you will need to do:

  1. Open the Excel file where your zip codes are listed.
  2. Select the cells where your zip codes are entered. Do do this, you can either:
    1. Click and drag over the cells containing zip codes. Or...
    2. Click the letter at the top of the zip codes column to highlight the whole column.
  3. From Excel's menu bar, choose Format > Cells... This will bring up a "Format Cells" dialogue box.
  4. From the column labeled "Category" on the left hand side of the dialogue box, choose "Special."
  5. Select either "Zip Code" or "Zip Code + 4," depending on how you have formatted your zip codes (Zip Code + 4 indicates that you have formatted your zip codes with 9 digits, rather than five).
  6. Click "OK"
  7. Scan through your zip codes to ensure that they appear to be formatted correctly.
  8. Proceed to make any other changes to your file, save, and upload.