Cannot Paste Symbols in Custom Formatting

Copper Contributor


I have been trying to paste the symbols 


as part of my custom number formatting in Excel. When numbers are positive it shows the up arrow and when negative it shows the down symbol. However, I am unable to paste these symbols in the type list box. Currently using Excel 365

10 Replies

@Elliab Have a look at the attached file. Should work.


@Riny_van_Eekelen Thank you for your solution. 

@Elliab You're welcome!

Can you explain how you did this? I'd like to be able to add other symbols to custom number formats but don't know how to do it.

@Mike_Williams695 Well, find the symbols you want to use first and copy them into a cell, as shown in the file that accompanied my original answer. Now create a custom number format.


  1. On the Home tab, in the Number group, click More Number Formats at the bottom of the Number Format list Screenshot 2022-12-20 at 06.45.39.png

  2. In the Format Cells dialog box, under Category, click Custom.

  3. In the Type list, select the built-in format that most resembles the one that you want to create. The number format that you select appears in the Type box.

  4. In the Type box, modify the number format codes to create the exact format that you want. For example, 0▲;0▼


The last bit is done step by step. Copy the arrow-up symbol from the Excel sheet. Navigate to the Type box. enter 0 and Ctrl-V. Press OK. Copy the arrow-down symbol from the Excel sheet. Go back to the Type box and select the format you just creates and continue typing ;0 and Ctrl-V to create this format "code": 0▲;0▼

Press OK.


Don't really know how else I can explain it. Most off the text above comes from the link below, in case you want to know more about custom formatting. 

Thanks for the quick reply! Unfortunately, I'm not able to duplicate your results. When following your instructions, everything works fine until I use Ctrl-V to past the symbol into the custom number format. I'm highlighting a symbol I've placed in a cell and I'm pressing Ctrl-C prior to opening the custom number format, but when I press Ctrl-V nothing is pasted into the formula. I've been reading the book "Excel Insights - A Microsoft MVP Guide to the Best Parts of Excel" and there is a chapter titled "Smart Uses of Custom Number Formatting" which provides the same instructions as you've provided so it's clear that this should work. Any ideas on why this isn't working for me? I'm using Excel in Office 365 and I'm using the most current version of Excel.

@Mike_Williams695 Sorry, I don't know why it doesn't work work for you.

I am experiencing the same issue. which is how I ended up here. I was watching a YT vid where she does this successfully, but for me the CTRL-V function simply does not work. I even tried using WinKey-V and choosing the item I want, but nothing pastes. I can manually type in the Type field but not paste.
I found a work around. Copy the symbol from another app. For example: Copy desired symbol from and paste into the Format Cells>Custom>Type field.
This works for me too. Thanks for the work around!