Number Formatting

I am using the budget template and it lists totals in accounting format so negative numbers show in parenthesis. So for example -$1.00 is displayed as ($1.00).
This shows up as a custom number format in the inspector. However, I can’t seem to find a way to put that in myself for a new column and copy style does not copy this number format.
Does anyone know how to create custom number formats?

I’m finding the number formatting for columns to be very frustrating.

  1. Only five options that ignore real-world needs:
  • 9,999.99
  • 9999.99
  • 10000
  • 10000%
  • £9,999.99

What one can’t do is write numbers such as:

  • 9,999
  • 9,000%
  • £9,999

In other words, I am forced to either have two decimal places, or no thousands separator. The logic behind the five choices is baffling.


  • Can’t format numbers to non-English formats, such as 9000,00 (a comma instead of a period).
  • Can’t input text into a column for use as a column subhead.

I received an answer from tech support. The only way to create custom number formats appears to be with appleScript.


I too would like more control over how numbers are formatted. I would like to be able to select the color based on the number being positive or negative.

You give a lot of control over how dates are displayed so a similar idea could also be used for numbers.

I guess the suggestion about using applescript is to treat the field as rich text and apply the formatting after it has been edited? Is this a manual process or can you hook an applescript to a field being updated?



If you don’t mind editing the omnioutline file directly using a text editor, save the file uncompressed in the document inspector.

Search for the column name you want to change the format of and you should see something like (for the Amount column in the budget sample):

  <formatter type="number">#,##0.00;0.00;-#,##0.00</formatter>

Edit the format string - this follows the conventions explained in

so showing negative numbers in parenthesis can be done by replacing the formatter line with

  <formatter type="number">#,##0.00;0.00;(-#,##0.00)</formatter>

Don’t subsequently change the column format through the inspector otherwise it will over write this change.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to change the color, though. :-(