How to Enter, Display Fractions in LibreOffice Calc

By | March 25, 2018

This tutorial explains how to enter, display, manipulate, format various fractions in Calc.

Fractions can be sometimes tricky to manipulate in Calc. If you are unaware of certain tricks, it would be difficult for you to work on. Here is how to work with fractions and its basics in Calc.

Basic Fraction

To enter a fraction 5/8 (five eighths), you should type 0 5/8 [i.e. ZERO SPACE then 5/8]. If you do not put “0 “, Calc would assume you have entered a date!

Enter basic fraction with preceding 0Basic Fraction entered

To enter one and five eighths i.e. 1 5/8 – enter 1 5/8 [i.e ONE SPACE 5/8]. Calc would automatically convert the cell format and show the fraction as 1 5/8. The value of the fraction would be shown as below:

Fraction 1 5 8

Fraction 1 5/8

If you right-click and open the format cells dialog on B1 cell, you can see the fraction format is applied to the cell – # ?/?.

format cells - fractions

format cells – fractions

Formatting Fractions

Calc always reduces the fraction to its smallest denominator. For example, if you enter 0 2/8 in a cell, it would be converted to 1/4 and internal value is .25.

fraction conversion

fraction conversion

If you want to display the value as 2/8, select the below format from Formatting cells dialog.

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Fraction Conversion - Format

Fraction Conversion – Format

After applying above format in same cell, Calc can show 2/8 instead of converting it 1/4. Note the internal value remains same as .25.

Fraction - Convert

Fraction – Convert


Fractions with Multiple Denominator

Calc assumes single denominator for any fractions entered with preceding zero and applies default format # ?/?. For example if you enter 0 4/77 – this would look like this:

Fractions - Multiple Denominator

Fractions – Multiple Denominator

Though the internal value of 4/77=0.0519… correctly shown, but the A1 cell shows 0 though 4/77 entered. This is because Calc applied default format # ?/? on the fraction.

To correct this, go to formatting cells dialog and enter format code as # ??/??.

Formatting Cells - Fractions with multiple denom

Formatting Cells – Fractions with multiple denom

After applying above format, the cell A1 should look like this:

Multiple Denom Fraction - Correct way

Multiple Denom Fraction – Correct way


This completes the basics of Fractions and how to work with in LibreOffice Calc.

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