My old zip code in Stamford was 06902. My current zip code also has a leading zero. It happens, and it can be frustrating when you’re working with spreadsheets that will eventually be merged to mailing labels.
I’ve helped a number of folks who aren’t Google/Excel pros who struggled with this issue so I thought it might be a good time to blog my simple fix.
When Excel (or Google Docs) sees just numbers in a field, it assumes you want the field to be a number. However, with zip codes you don’t want the field to be formatted as a number because then 06902 is written as 6902. You want those fields to be set as text so the leading zeroes are not dropped. Besides, when was the last time you ever had to add two zip codes together?
In Excel, it’s easy to format a column as zip code and the leading zeroes are respected.
But if you want to bring that spreadsheet to Google Docs, all that goes out the window because there’s no special setting in Google for zip codes. I’m doing this right now to start building a Bat Mitzvah guest list I can work on with with family members that originated as an Excel file I used for mailing labels for the last Bat Mitzvah two years ago. I can convert the column to text before uploading to Google, but that won’t magically add zeroes that weren’t there before.