Minitab data types and formats

Minitab stores data in columns of a worksheet. Each column has a data type and a data display format.

Data types

Minitab recognizes the following data types: numeric, text, and date/time. When you enter data into a column, Minitab assigns a data type to the column based on the first value that you enter. All data in a column must have the same data type. Most Minitab analyses require data of specific types. For example, calculations that involve decimals require numeric data.

Date/time columns are indicated by a D after the column number. Text columns are indicated by a T after the column number. Numeric columns don't have an indicator. The following worksheet has a column of each data type.

C1 C2-D C3-T
Numeric Date/Time Text
4.279 2014/07/26 Red
7.003 2014/08/11 Blue
12.127 2014/12/02 Green


Minitab treats numbers and dates in a text column (such as a street address or month name) as text.

To change the data type of columns, choose Data > Change Data Type.

Data display formats

The data display format of a column determines how the values in the column are displayed. For example, a numeric column may be displayed with a currency symbol and two decimal places.

To set the format of a column, click in the column, then right-click and choose Format Column.

The data display and the underlying values that Minitab saves are not always the same. For example, Minitab might display only two decimal places, but the underlying values include four decimal places. Or a date/time column might display only the date, but the underlying data also include the time.

Therefore, when you modify the format of a column, you are changing only the way that column is displayed in the worksheet, not the underlying value. For example, if the number in a cell is 1.2345678 and you change the format to display only two decimals, the underlying value is still 1.2345678, and all calculations and analyses use that underlying value.