Generate Properly-formatted Bates Numbers in a Snap

Let’s say you get the following panicked email from an attorney on your team:


You understand that these are the Bates numbers for documents on the Big Bank case, but you need to convert them to the proper format in order to pull them out of Relativity all at once.  Viz.,

62 refers to BigBank_000062

7550 refers to BigBank_007550

and so on.  The tricky part of this is adding the “BigBank_” prefix while also getting the right number of padding zeroes into each number.  You certainly don’t want to type them out one at a time–right?  Excel’s TEXT function makes this easy.

First, cut and paste those numbers into Excel and put the following formula in cell B2:


which generates the following result:


Here’s how the formula works:  “BigBank_” is the prefix for each Bates number, and the TEXT formula with the “000000” argument tells Excel to convert the number in Column A to text and add the appropriate number of padding zeroes to get a total of 6 digits.  The ampersand (&) combines both pieces into a single string of text.

Next, copy the formula by finding the cross-hairs in the lower right-hand corner of cell B2 and double-clicking, or dragging them down:


The copied formulas turn all of the raw numbers into properly-formatted Bates numbers:


That’s it!  As a housekeeping matter, it’s a good idea to get rid of the underlying formulas by copying the cells and pasting the values, like so:

First select the cells with the formulas/results, and then right click and choose Copy (or hit Ctrl+C)


Then select the same range of cells and paste the values right on top of them:


The cells will appear the same, but now the content of each cell is the resulting Bates number, rather than that funny formula–as reflected in the formula bar.


Now these Bates numbers can be pasted into Relativity or other document review platform.  Of course, this trick will work if you have 8 numbers or 800.

Thanks for reading.  If you have a thorny Excel issue, please share it in the comments below.  To learn about hosting a CLE-approved Excel workshop at your law firm, company, public interest organization, or bar association, click here or email Ben Kusmin from Excel Esquire.


About excelesquire

NYC attorney and Excel enthusiast.
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4 Responses to Generate Properly-formatted Bates Numbers in a Snap

  1. Pingback: Fast Tip Friday - Convert Doc Number List to Searchable Bates Numbers

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