I have a series of numbers that need to be formatted as xxx-xxxx, with leading zeroes preserved when applicable. For example, I need make sure 025-5632 is not reformatted as 25-5632. I found in the "custom" format I can change it to "00#-####" in order to automatically add leading zeroes, but this changes ALL entries to have leading zeroes, not just those that are lacking other leading numbers (e.g. 123-4567 would become 00123-4567).

Can anyone tell me if it's possible to preserve leading zeroes in a numerical field?

I would also like to preserve the dash, if at all possible, but this is a little bit less of a necessity. Apparently, this has been done before by the person I am working for, but they cannot figure out how to do it in their updated system. For reference, we will be typing these numbers in one by one, not using a table import.

  • 1
    To preserve leading zeroes in a "numerical" field you need to use a text field.
    – PolyGeo
    May 22, 2023 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


To store numbers with the dash and leading zeroes, you need to use a text field, not numeric.

However, you can display numeric fields with a dash and leading zeroes, though they are still stored as numbers with no formatting. To do so:

  • Leave your field as a numeric type (e.g. long integer).

  • Open Data Design -> Fields

  • Change the Number Format to Custom and use the format string 000-0000. The "0" placeholder replaces the zero with the given digit of the field if one is present, otherwise with zero.

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