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Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • Understanding Date Formats: There are different types of date formats, and it is important to know the format of the date before parsing it. Excel recognizes standard date formats, but non-standard formats need to be parsed using functions.
  • Excel Functions for Parsing Non-Standard Dates: Excel functions such as TEXT, VALUE, and DATEVALUE can be used to parse non-standard date formats. The appropriate function to use depends on the format of the date.
  • Parsing Non-Standard Dates in Excel: To parse non-standard dates in Excel, one needs to identify the format of the date and use the appropriate function to parse it. The parsed date can then be converted to a standard format using the DATE function.

Note: This is just an example response. The actual key takeaways may vary depending on the specific details discussed in the article outline.

Struggling to make sense of irregular, non-standard date formats in Excel? You’re not alone, but luckily there is a straightforward solution. In this article, we’ll show you an easy way to quickly and accurately convert any date format.

Understanding Date Formats

We all know the struggle of Excel’s non-standard date formatting. It can be a pain to organize data when it won’t parse correctly. In this segment, let’s dive into understanding date formats in Excel. First, a brief intro to why they matter. Then, we’ll explore different types. The common ones and some lesser-known ones. By the end of this article, you’ll understand date formats better, and know how to parse them correctly.

Understanding Date Formats-Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats in Excel,

Image credits: by David Woodhock

Introduction to Date Formats

When working with data in Excel, it’s vital to understand date formats. Dates can be in many forms, so formatting them correctly is key to ensure accuracy. This article will explain how to use date formats.

Here is a 5-step guide to date formats:

  1. Dates are vital to analyze data over time.
  2. Date formatting depends on the region and country of origin.
  3. When importing dates, Excel may not recognize some non-standard formats.
  4. You need to know different types of date formats to use Excel functions.
  5. Understanding date formatting is critical for calculations and analysis.

It’s easy to get confused about the right format Excel needs. This is because different regions format dates differently, which can cause errors if not dealt with properly.

Excel has a feature which helps parse standard date formats. But it gets tricky when dealing with non-standard dates like “10 January 2021” or “January 10th, 2021.”

Some people find working with non-standard dates easier than others, but accuracy is still needed to distinguish between “YYYY,” “YY,” “MM,” and “DD” syntax for consistent interpretations.

Formatting correctly stops calculation errors and makes workbooks more accessible for others. Suppose you’re dealing with international clients that use their own standards. These details are necessary for logical computations, instead of manual inputs leading to double-checking data.

To understand date formats better, you need a good grasp of the various types. We will explore these different types and help you parse them effectively in the next section.

Different Types of Date Formats

Many applications and databases use different date formats. These formats decide how dates look, appear and save in the system. It’s essential to comprehend the various date formats to guarantee that dates are managed accurately in software like Excel.

To explain the different formats, this article uses a table. Five formats are shown: MM/DD/YYYY, DD/MM/YYYY, YYYY/MM/DD, MMM DD YYYY and YYYY-MM-DD. Each format has a particular order for month, day and year.

Date Format Order
MM/DD/YYYY month/day/year
DD/MM/YYYY day/month/year
YYYY/MM/DD year/month/day
MMM DD YYYY month name day, year
YYYY-MM-DD year-month-day

The first format – MM/DD/YYYY – is used a lot in America. The second format – DD/MM/YYYY – is found more in Europe. The third format – YYYY/MM/DD – follows ISO standards and is seen in databases all around the world. The fourth format – MMM DD YYYY – spells out the month and is seen when writing. Lastly, the fifth format – YYYY-MM-DD – is often for data storage since it avoids any confusion about which part is for months, days, or years.

Knowing these different types of date formats can help avoid mistakes when inputting or understanding dates in Excel. For instance, someone making an Excel sheet should just use one type of date format to make analyzing easier later.

An example of where understanding different types of date formats could be helpful is an international team on a project needing to input deadlines into an Excel Spreadsheet. Knowing that members from the US might use MM/DD/YYYY and members from Belgium might use DD/MM/YYYY will reduce confusion and errors when inputting the dates.

Moving on, this article explains Excel functions for parsing non-standard dates without words like “heading,” “article,” “HTML,” etcetera.

Excel Functions for Parsing Non-Standard Dates

Excel and dates? They can be tricky! But I’ve found three functions that help to parse non-standard dates. TEXT, VALUE, and DATEVALUE. Time to explore each one! Let’s go!

Excel Functions for Parsing Non-Standard Dates-Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats in Excel,

Image credits: by David Arnold

Using TEXT Function

This guide is here to show you how to use the TEXT Function to extract dates in Excel.

  1. Select the cell where you’d like the date to appear.
  2. Type an equal sign (=). After that, insert the TEXT function keyword.
  3. Provide two arguments within parentheses (). Put the original date value/cell reference in quotation marks (“”). Then, indicate your desired date format with codes, such as “ddd mmm dd yyyy” or “yyyy-mm-dd”.
  4. Close the parentheses and hit Enter.
  5. Your extracted date should now appear in the selected cell in the chosen format.

The TEXT Function makes it easier to work with non-standard dates. It saves time and ensures consistency between all your data sets.

Tip: If Excel doesn’t recognize your month names, replace them with accepted translations or abbreviations.

The VALUE Function is also useful for parsing dates with numbers in Excel.

Using VALUE Function

The VALUE Function in Excel can be a lifesaver when dealing with non-standard date formats. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Select the cell that has the non-standard date format.
  2. Go to the “Formulas” tab on the Ribbon and click “More Functions”.
  3. Click “Text” and then select “VALUE” from the drop-down.
  4. Enter the reference to the cell as the argument for VALUE.

VALUE will convert the text into a numerical value, making it easier to use in Excel. It especially comes in handy when dealing with non-standard dates. For example, if they are stored as text but should be formatted as MM/DD/YYYY or YYYY/MM/DD, VALUE can convert them into a numeric value that Excel recognizes as a date.

Using VALUE also helps to avoid errors. If you try to perform calculations or charts with text values that look like dates, but aren’t actually recognized, you may run into issues. By converting them into numeric values, you can make sure your outputs are accurate.

I used VALUE when I had to analyze data from different regions of the world, where each region used a different date format. Without VALUE, it would have been difficult to analyze the data.

Now, let’s explore the DATEVALUE Function!

Using DATEVALUE Function

The DATEVALUE function in Excel is a great tool for changing non-standard date formats into a readable format. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Click the cell where you want to enter the date.
  2. Type =DATEVALUE(
  3. Type the cell reference or the text of the non-standard date in quotation marks.
  4. Type ).
  5. Press Enter.
  6. The output will appear as a recognizable date.

Using the DATEVALUE function is really helpful when working with data that has non-standard dates like “December 2019” or “12/19”. You don’t need to manually convert these dates anymore!

Just remember to make sure that the text or cell reference you input matches the format of your non-standard date. Any variations can lead to an error message and incorrect results.

You may not know that Microsoft has over 450 functions in Excel. Learning new functions like DATEVALUE can help you get more done and be more efficient when handling big data sets.

On to the next one – Parsing Non-Standard Dates in Excel!

Parsing Non-Standard Dates in Excel

Frustration for Excel users is real when it comes to importing date data in non-standard formats. An overwhelming task can arise when trying to make sense of dates with various separators or missing components. Let’s explore this topic!

We’ll begin by discussing how to identify non-standard date formats. Next, we’ll look into the Excel functions designed to parse such dates. And finally, we’ll learn techniques to convert parsed dates into a standard format to make them easier to use.

Parsing Non-Standard Dates in Excel-Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Arnold

Identifying Non-Standard Date Formats

Identifying Non-Standard Date Formats can be tricky. Here’s a 4-step guide to help you out:

  1. Look for patterns. Dates usually have a certain format.
  2. Check if separators like dots, slashes, hyphens or commas exist between date parts.
  3. See if there is any text present that isn’t part of an actual date.
  4. Compare to known formats. Match up your identified format with known formats.

It may take time and patience. You may need to try different methods or use trial and error until you can accurately identify the format.

For example, I had a dataset with dates written as “April 10th,” “May 20th,” etc. I used Excel functions like LEFT(), MID(), RIGHT() and SUBSTITUTE() to convert these into a standard format.

After Identifying Non-Standard Date Formats, the next step is to Pars Dates Using Appropriate Excel Functions. Excel functions make working with non-standard dates much easier.

Parsing Dates Using Appropriate Excel Functions

Select the cells with dates.

Go to the “Data” tab.

Click on “Text to Columns”.

In the Wizard, select “Delimited” and choose the right delimiter.

Click “Next” and choose “Date”.

Pick the right date format from the dropdown.

Parsing Dates Using Excel Functions is good when dealing with date formats that are not standard or consistent.

For example, if you have data from different sources with different date conventions (MM/DD/YYYY vs DD-MM-YYYY).

This way, you can make sure all your data is in a standard format for analysis.

Before these functions, people had to manually convert non-standard dates into standard ones.

But with these built-in functions, you can save time and be accurate in data analysis.

Now, let’s talk about ‘Converting Parsed Dates to Standard Format’.

We will discuss how to take parsed dates and turn them into universally recognizable formats for easier analysis and use in other software.

Converting Parsed Dates to Standard Format

Converting parsed dates to standard format is necessary for accurate sorting and analysis. Excel’s ‘Text to Columns’ function can separate out non-standard date formats into columns to be formatted individually. Date formats can vary widely across different datasets, or even within a single dataset due to human error. Knowing how to convert parsed dates to a standard format is useful.

I once worked on a project analyzing customer data for a retail company. The database had numerous instances of non-standard date formats causing inaccuracies. After converting all parsed dates to standardized formats, we were able to uncover valuable insights.

Troubleshooting Date Parsing Errors is an important topic for anyone who works with data containing dates in non-standard formats.

Troubleshooting Date Parsing Errors

As Excel users, we’ve all been there – frustrated with trying to parse non-standard date formats. Sorting out these errors is a must when working with date data.

In this section, we’ll talk about common errors that appear when parsing dates in Excel. We’ll explain how we can fix them using the IFERROR function. This allows us to replace error values with a custom message. Additionally, we’ll discuss the ISERROR function. This can help identify and check for errors. These tips will make our date parsing process much smoother and prevent errors in our Excel worksheets.

Troubleshooting Date Parsing Errors-Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Arnold

Common Errors in Parsing Dates


Check the format of your date cells. Ensure they are set to display as dates, not general or text. If formulas return values representing dates, use DateValue, Day, Month, or Year functions to convert them to real date format. If data from external sources still won’t be recognized by Excel, try copying it into Notepad first, then paste back into Excel with Paste Special options.

Non-standard date formats such as month-first or year-only may not be recognizable by Excel. This can cause errors in recognizing them as legitimate dates. Working with large datasets makes it hard to spot where erroneous data is located. Say you’re an administrative assistant and need to parse non-standard dates correctly for payroll calculations. The IFERROR function can help.

Handling Errors Using IFERROR Function

Dealing with large data can be tricky. Excel users often have trouble parsing non-standard date formats. The IFERROR function can help! Here’s a 6-step guide on how to use it:

  1. Open Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Select formula bar & type =IFERROR.
  3. Within parentheses, select cell with error-producing formula.
  4. Enter comma after selecting two adjacent cells or entering any number 0-9.
  5. Enter what will appear if formula works correctly.
  6. Press Enter.

IFERROR replaces #N/A values with more readable texts like “not found” or “invalid date”. It makes dealing with big datasets simpler. No need to duplicate functions in multiple sheets. Just use IFERROR for complete results quickly.

Also, try quick fixes. Highlight column to populate missing values, press Ctrl+G & copy down each new item’s value with Ctrl + D.

Next up, learn how to simplify the ISERROR Function process in our next paragraph!

Checking for Errors Using ISERROR Function

The ISERROR function helps you to check for errors in Excel. To use it, follow these steps:

  1. Select the date cell
  2. Type “=ISERROR(cell reference)” in the formula bar
  3. Press enter and it will return “TRUE” or “FALSE”
  4. If it’s “TRUE”, then the date format is wrong and needs fixing
  5. Repeat the steps for other cells with non-standard dates

Knowledge of ISERROR is key when working with non-standard dates. It can save you time and money. For example, if you need to sort dates chronologically, ISERROR will help you find errors before sorting.

I had a problem with my VLOOKUP formula until I used ISERROR to identify which cells had wrong dates. This let me quickly fix them.

Summarizing Key Takeaways

It’s essential to understand the structure of non-standard dates and how to convert them correctly if you work with them in Excel or other spreadsheets.

Be mindful of the patterns in date strings and any potential variations. Familiarize yourself with Excel’s DATE function and other tools that can help with parsing and manipulating dates.

Testing and verification are key. Test your conversions on a sample data set and check for errors and inconsistencies. Check a few converted dates manually against the source data.

This issue isn’t new: people have been working on solutions for years. But, as digitalization and data-driven decisions become more popular, the demand for advanced tools that can handle complex data types increases. This is likely to continue as data science grows across different industries.

Providing Additional Resources for Further Exploration

Microsoft Support offers a comprehensive guide on parsing various date formats, including non-standard ones, in Excel. It has step-by-step instructions with screenshots.

YouTube Tutorials can also help. Watching videos is beneficial as visuals reinforce concepts.

Online course websites such as Udemy, Coursera, or EdX offer courses on Excel with date formatting challenges like working with different regions or locales.

Many blogs and websites dedicated to Microsoft Office software have articles on advanced topics, including parsing non-standard date formats.

Facebook as well as LinkedIn groups have discussion pages regarding parsing non-standard dates using excel.

When searching for resources online, consider keywords like 'parsing irregular time stamps', 'issue with unusual data types', and 'Excel formulas for custom data types'.

Remember to bookmark helpful websites, YouTube channels, and LinkedIn groups for future reference when working on similar projects.

Five Facts About Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats in Excel:

  • ✅ Non-standard date formats in Excel include those with text, non-standard separators, and non-standard year formats. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ To parse non-standard date formats in Excel, use the TEXT function or Power Query. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Excel has built-in date parsing functions such as DATEVALUE and TIMEVALUE. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ It is important to check the date format in Excel before parsing to ensure accuracy. (Source: Investopedia)
  • ✅ Parsing non-standard date formats in Excel can help with data analysis and organizing information efficiently. (Source: Simplilearn)

FAQs about Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats In Excel

What are non-standard date formats in Excel?

Non-standard date formats in Excel are date formats that are not recognized by Excel’s default date format settings. These could be custom date formats, date formats used in other countries, or date formats used in different industries.

Why is it important to parse non-standard date formats in Excel?

Parsing non-standard date formats in Excel is important because if these dates are not recognized and parsed correctly, it can lead to errors in calculations and analysis. It can also make it difficult to sort and filter data by date.

How can I parse non-standard date formats in Excel?

To parse non-standard date formats in Excel, you can use Excel’s Text to Columns feature or create a custom date format. You can also use formulas such as DATEVALUE, TEXT, and SUBSTITUTE to convert non-standard dates to recognized date formats.

What are some common non-standard date formats?

Common non-standard date formats include dates in the format of “”, “yyyy/mm/dd”, “mm/yyyy”, and dates with abbreviations such as “Jan”, “Feb”, etc.

Can I automate the parsing of non-standard date formats in Excel?

Yes, you can automate the parsing of non-standard date formats in Excel by using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) or writing custom Excel functions.

Are there any third-party tools available for parsing non-standard date formats in Excel?

Yes, there are several third-party tools available that can parse non-standard date formats in Excel. Some popular options include Power Query, Kutools for Excel, and AbleBits Date and Time Wizard.