I'm using OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2, with Microsoft Office 14.2.4.
Problem: Ever since I installed new updates of OS X, Excel can no longer display the thousands separator.
How can I get it back?
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A temporary workaround is always simply Command-A to select all cells and clicking this convenient button in the ribbon under the Home tab in the Number section:
A more permanent solution is as follows:
Go into System Preferences > Language and Text and click the "Region" tab. If the first region dropdown menu is United States (Computer), this might be your problem. Looking below shows that this region formats numbers without a thousands separator.
This appears to be the result, as you stated, of an OS X update. Instead, set the Region to United States (without the Computer part).
From the Excel Help window:
Display or hide the thousands separator
Select the cells that you want to adjust. On the Home tab, under Number, click Display the value of a cell with a thousands separator.
Note: Excel uses the Mac OS system separator for thousands. You can specify a different system separator by changing the regional settings in Mac OS X International system preferences.
We have just done that, but it appears that Excel continues to ignore the change. Re-install Office and update us with the results.