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How To Fill Out Form W-4

Write Out Numbers
A Tool (and Tips) to Turn Numbers into Text

Sometimes you need to write out numbers using words. When writing a check, words are used for clarification even though numerals may make more sense to you, and this skill (turning a set of numbers into words) may come in handy in other areas as well.

A Tool to Help

The tool below can help you write out numbers correctly. Enter a number, hit "Submit", and see how the number is written.

Your number:

The number converted to text:

Just Like it Sounds

If you can say it, you can write it. A rule of thumb is to write out numbers just as they sound. If your number is 1,234, say it out loud. It will be written just as it sounds: One thousand two hundred thirty-four.

A Few Tips

  1. Note the hyphen (or the minus sign) in "thirty-four" above. It is technically correct to hyphenate some numbers, but merchants don’t care when you’re writing a check.
    • If you choose to hyphenate, use a hyphen for any numbers between 21 and 99
  2. Do not use the word "and" after "hundred" or "thousand" -- unless the number of cents follows immediately after
  3. Use "and" only before writing the amount of cents or fractional dollars (see below)
  4. Only write the full dollar amount in words. For portions less than a dollar, use a fraction. For example, if your number is 1234.59, write "one thousand two hundred thirty-four and 59/100" (instead of writing "point five nine"). For more details on how to do this, read about putting dollars and cents into words.
  5. Avoid informal ways of saying things. Write "one thousand two hundred" instead of "twelve hundred"
Note that the amount you write using words is the official amount of your check. If the amount in numeric format differs from what you wrote in word format, the bank is supposed to go with the amount written out in words (but that doesn't always happen -- the discrepancy often goes unnoticed).

If you'd like to write fewer checks, try paying a different way. For purchases in-person and online, you can use a debit card and spend the same money from your checking account -- you can even pay bills with plastic.

Another option is to set up online bill payment through your bank or service provider. Your bills can be paid automatically, or only when you choose to pay them. Your bank will either send funds electronically or print and mail a check for you (so you don't have to write the check and get it in the mail).

Thanks to About.com's JavaScript expert for the tool above.

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