Excel Desperately Needs New Decimal Buttons

I know barely anyone willing to defend them.

Andrew Moss
3 min readMar 29, 2024

Excel’s decimal buttons are a thing of mystery.

Sat snugly in the centre of the Home tab, they provide a quick and convenient way to adjust the number of decimal places a number has.

Well, that’s assuming you know which order they’re in. For many of us, it’s like playing Russian roulette trying to guess which button does what, given Increase Decimal and Decrease Decimal are on the left and right, respectively.

The problem is broader than this, though.

I posted recently about the curious inconsistency of button positioning in Excel, making the point that we’re accustomed to having the negative action on the left and the positive on the right. This UI principle applies to indent and zoom, so why not font size and decimals?

Positioning aside, just have a look at the two buttons. Do they make any sense to you?

I’ve spent a lot of time staring at them, but I still struggle to decipher what they mean.