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How To Change The Date Format In Excel

Key takeaways:

  • Using the correct date format is important to ensure accurate data analysis in Excel. Different countries use different date formats, so it’s essential to use the appropriate format for your region.
  • Excel offers various formats for displaying dates, including Short Date, Long Date, and Custom Date formats. You can change the date format using the Format Cells dialog box, shortcut keys, or the Text to Columns feature.
  • You can customize the date format in Excel by using the Custom Date Formatting syntax. This allows you to display dates in a format that meets your specific needs, such as showing the day of the week or month as a number.

Are you struggling to understand how to change the date format in Excel? With our simple step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to easily update your data and get the real-time results you need. Discover how to make this key change today!

A Beginner’s Guide to Changing Date Formats in Excel

Do you use Excel? Is it new to you? It can be hard to grasp the array of date formats. We’re here to help! This guide will tell you all you need to know about changing dates in Excel. Why is it so important? Errors, confusion and other issues can arise.

Then, we’ll go into the popular date formats used in Excel. Plus, learn how to modify them for your needs. Get the most out of this powerful spreadsheet tool!

A Beginner

Image credits: by James Woodhock

Understanding the Importance of Date Formats in Excel

It’s easy to overlook date formats when working with large amounts of data. But, it’s important to take the time to ensure that dates are correctly formatted. Otherwise, you could end up in a sticky situation.

For example, one colleague spent weeks sorting through a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, all of the dates had been entered in the wrong format, leaving the sheet unsortable. This caused a lot of extra work for everyone involved and could have been avoided with proper formatting.

Therefore, understanding date formatting is essential for keeping your data accurate. Now, let’s look at popular date formats used in Excel.

The most common format in Excel is “General“. This displays a date based on the computer’s regional settings.

You can also use the “Short Date” format. This displays dates as numbers, separated by slashes (MM/DD/YYYY).

The “Long Date” format displays dates with the month spelled out and uses a comma to separate day and year (Month DD, YYYY).

You can also choose custom date formats that include text, symbols and separators.

Knowing these popular date formats makes it easier to understand the data in Excel. Did you know? According to Microsoft’s Support site, “Excel stores dates and times as a numerical value”. This is the number of days since January 1st, 1900.

Now, let’s move on to How to Change the Date Format in Excel. This is easy. Just follow these steps!

How to Change the Date Format in Excel

Sick of difficult date formats in your Excel spreadsheets? No problem! This guide will show you three ways to change your date formats. First, I’ll show you the Format Cells dialog box option, which has lots of options. Then, it’s time for shortcut keys to quickly change things. Lastly, I’ll explain the Text to Columns feature, which helps with dates Excel doesn’t like.

Ready to take charge of your date formats in Excel? Let’s go!

How to Change the Date Format in Excel-How to Change the Date Format in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Woodhock

Using the Format Cells Dialog Box to Change Date Formats


Select the required cells. Press Ctrl+1 or right-click and select “Format Cells” from the context menu. In the Format Cells dialog box, click on the “Number” tab. Choose “Date” from Category. Select your desired date formatting under Type. Click OK.

Why is it important?

It makes data easier to understand. Different formats can lead to misunderstandings.

There are other options in the Format Cells dialog box – number formats, alignment and font styles.

Fun fact – Excel was first released in 1987. It’s now a top spreadsheet software tool.

Next up – using shortcut keys to change date formats.

Using Shortcut Keys to Change Date Formats

Selection of cells containing the dates to format? Press CTRL + 1 for the Format Cells dialog box. From the Category list, select “Date”. Choose the date format from the Type list. Hit OK.

Using this shortcut just changes the way date values are displayed, not their value in Excel. It can save time and effort if you often work with different date formats. Different countries have different date formats (e.g. MM/DD/YYYY vs DD/MM/YYYY).

For a large dataset with inconsistent date formats, select all cells first, then use CTRL + 1 to open the Format Cells dialog box. Select “Text” from the Category list and click OK. This will ensure all dates are treated as text values.

Using the Text-to-Columns Feature to Change Date Formats is another option.

Using the Text to Columns Feature to Change Date Formats

To convert dates, here’s what to do:

  1. Select the range of cells that have the dates.
  2. Click on “Data” in the top menu, then “Text to Columns”.
  3. In the wizard, select “Delimited” and click “Next”.
  4. Uncheck all boxes, then pick the desired date format.

This method can change the date style. You may pick from different formats – short or long dates. After completing these steps, the dates should show in the chosen format.

If you’ve had issues with irregularly formatted data, this feature comes to the rescue. For example, I got a spreadsheet with dates scattered in a way that made it hard to understand. Instead of re-entering all the data, I used Text-to-Columns and separated all dates.

For more customizing options than the predefined formats, check out Customizing Date Formats in Excel.

Customizing Date Formats in Excel

Are you an Excel user in need of customizing date formats? No worries! This section will show you how.

Firstly, we’ll explore your options with the Format Cells dialog box. It’s easy to use and customizes dates to meet your needs.

Next, we’ll take a look at a more detailed approach. There’s a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to format dates with custom date formatting syntax – a great skill to have if you work with dates often. With these tools, formatting dates in Excel will be a piece of cake!

Customizing Date Formats in Excel-How to Change the Date Format in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Arnold

Using the Format Cells Dialog Box to Customize Date Formats

To format cells with custom date formats, right-click and select “Format Cells” from the pop-up menu. Then, go to the “Number” tab and select “Date” from the list of categories. You can choose from the various options or create a custom format in the “Type” field. Don’t forget to click “OK” to apply your changes!

This method provides consistency throughout your workbook, making it easier to read. Also, be aware that different regional settings may cause the date to appear differently. Double-check your changes before finalizing them.

For more tips, check out our guide on custom date formatting syntax!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Formatting Dates with Custom Date Formatting Syntax

Formatting dates in Excel can be tricky. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Select the cells with the dates.
  2. From there, go to the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click “Number Format” then select “More Number Formats”.
  4. Choose “Custom” from the left-hand menu.
  5. Then input your desired date format in the “Type” field. Use a combination of letters and symbols.
  6. Click “OK” to apply the format.
  7. Now your dates should show the way you want them to!

You can use different symbols and codes when customizing date formats. For instance, d stands for the day of the month without leading zeros, and dd means the same with leading zeros included.

It’s important to double-check the dates after applying the format. Sometimes symbols or combinations may cause unexpected results.

Now that you know how to customize date formats, let’s look at some examples.

Examples of Different Date Formats

Are you an Excel user? Then you may know about the hassle of changing date formats. Different areas & people use different formats, which can be confusing in Excel. We’ll explain various formats like Short Date, Long Date, & Custom Date Formats. With examples, you’ll recognize & convert them quickly. No more date format confusion! Let’s explore these formats.

Examples of Different Date Formats-How to Change the Date Format in Excel,

Image credits: by Adam Duncun

The Short Date Format with Examples

Remember, not all short date formats are the same. In America, the common format is MM/DD/YYYY, while other places use DD/MM/YYYY or YYYY/MM/DD.

Check the right format for your audience. Experiment with different formats in Excel to figure out which one works best.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) gives advice on making global dates and times to avoid misunderstanding.

Next, we’ll look at the Long Date Format with Examples, which includes days of the week and time zones.

The Long Date Format with Examples

The Long Date Format with Examples can be shown using a table. For instance, if you want to display 22nd May 2021 as a long date, the format is: Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Short Date Format Long Date Format
22/05/2021 Saturday, May 22, 2021
05/22/2021 Saturday, May 22, 2021
2021/05/22 Saturday, May 22, 2021

Make sure to match the region and language settings on your device. This is important when sharing spreadsheets or collaborating with others.

In many countries, The Long Date Format with Examples follows a specific order – day, month, and year. Other countries have different formats based on their language conventions.

The Long Date Format with Examples can be used in project management to show deadlines or completion dates. For example, a task due on December 31st, 2022 can be displayed as Friday, December 31st, 2022.

Custom Date Formats with Examples explores how to create personalized data in Excel.

Custom Date Formats with Examples

To use Custom Date Formats in Excel, follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Select the cells.
  2. Press Ctrl + 1 or Right-click and select ‘Format Cells.’
  3. Go to ‘Number’ tab.
  4. Enter your preferred date format in ‘Type’ field, then click OK.

Examples of Custom Date Formats include: Short Date (dd-mm-yy), Long Date (dd mmm yyyy), Time (hh:mm:ss AM/PM), Date-Time (dd-mm-yy hh:mm:ss). You can also customize them further by adding separators.

Some tips when using Custom Date Formats in Excel:

  1. Use a universal format like YYYY/MM/DD instead of regional formats such as MM/DD/YYYY.
  2. Add leading zeros for single-digit dates or months.
  3. Use a consistent date format throughout the workbook.

In our next section, we will discuss how to troubleshoot date format issues in Excel naturally.

Troubleshooting Date Format Issues in Excel

If you’ve ever worked with dates in Excel, you know it can get frustrating. But don’t worry! I’ll address common date format errors and show how to fix them. Knowing the most common errors helps you avoid misinterpreting dates. This leads to incorrect data analysis. I’ll explain how to fix these errors. Your dates will appear in the right format for your needs. Lastly, I’ll share best practices on date formatting. Let’s dive in!

Troubleshooting Date Format Issues in Excel-How to Change the Date Format in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Washington

Understanding Common Date Formatting Errors in Excel

Frequent issues arise when entering dates in Excel. This happens when the cell is formatted as text. To fix this, change the cell format to General or Date format.

Other errors occur when importing dates from outside sources, like CSV files. They may display as text instead of dates. Check the cell’s number format with the ‘Format Cells’ option.

Copying and pasting cells into a worksheet with different date settings can cause incorrect formatting. Go to Control Panel > Clock and Region > Change time zone to check the file settings.

Date calculations can also result in errors. Use the =EOMONTH(A1,-1) formula for summing dates between the previous month end and current month end.

Incorrect formatting via Formulas tab’s ‘More Number Formats’ option can cause two-digit year displays. To fix this, use the Home tab’s Format Cells dialogue box.

Lastly, when entering data from scanned documents or PDFs, use OCR software, such as Adobe Acrobat Capture. This will recognise all values correctly!

Fixing Date Formatting Errors in Excel

Fixing date format errors in Excel can be tough. With a lot of data, it’s time-consuming to manually change the date format. Luckily, there are simple steps to avoid this.

Click on the column heading with the dates you want to change. Select “Format” from Excel’s Home tab. Pick “Format Cells”. A dialogue box will appear. Choose the “Date” category. Then, select your preferred date format.

Check if the dates are right. If not, update them manually. Sometimes, Excel doesn’t recognize date formats from other systems or with symbols. When you see “#” instead of a value, select the rows with # signs. Choose “Text To Columns” from the Data category in Excel’s Home tab. Select “Delimited” for Original data type. Uncheck all Delimiters options, except Space or Comma.

If you receive data from different locales with multiple date formats, it might be better to standardize those exports to one format before opening in Excel or importing with a script. This way, you’ll have fewer difficulties working with the data.

A few months ago, I was dealing with sales figures in excel but the vendor used UK formatted dates. We were based in US. I had to figure out how to change the date formats. Now, I’m confident with this kind of problem.

Best Practices for Date Formatting in Excel for Accurate Results

Always input dates consistently. Whether typing, pasting, or importing, ensure that dates in Excel are entered the same way. Specify the right date format. If Excel can’t recognize dates, manually set the format to correspond with the input. Check regional settings. Excel saves date info based on your OS or region. Use appropriate cell formats. This helps display and manipulate dates accurately. Use the DATE function. This adds days/months regardless of year.

It’s essential to follow best practices for date formatting. This minimizes errors and improves Excel worksheets’ look/feel. Understand user requirements before date formatting. This optimizes data analyses.

For example, a company collected attendees’ preferred conference dates from 20+ time zones. But entries had scheduling conflicts due to daylight savings time, which alters schedules twice a year. They reviewed 2000 entries and reiterated best practices for date formatting in Excel.

Some Facts About How to Change the Date Format in Excel:

  • ✅ Excel allows users to change the date format of cells by using the Format Cells dialogue box. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ The most commonly used date formats in Excel are MM/DD/YYYY and DD/MM/YYYY. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ Users can also create custom date formats in Excel to display dates in unique ways. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Excel can also recognize and convert text that resembles a date into a date format. (Source: Exceljet)
  • ✅ Changing the date format in Excel can help with data analysis and visualization. (Source: Ablebits)

FAQs about How To Change The Date Format In Excel

How to Change the Date Format in Excel?

Excel stores dates as numbers and they can be formatted in a variety of ways. Here are the steps to change the date format in Excel:

  1. Highlight the cells containing the dates you want to format.
  2. Right-click and select “Format Cells” from the context menu.
  3. In the “Format Cells” dialog box, select the “Number” tab.
  4. Select “Date” in the Category list.
  5. Select the desired date format from the list of Type options.
  6. Click “OK” to apply the formatting to the selected cells.