How to change date format in Excel and create custom formatting

The first part of our tutorial focuses of formatting dates in Excel and explains how to set the default date and time formats, how to change date format in Excel, how to create custom date formatting, and convert your dates to another locale.

Along with numbers, dates and times are the most common data types people use in Excel. However, they may be quite confusing to work with, firstly, because the same date can be displayed in Excel in a variety of ways, and secondly, because Excel always internally stores dates in the same format regardless of how you have formatted a date in a given cell.

Knowing the Excel date formats a little in depth can help you save a ton of your time. And this is exactly the aim of our comprehensive tutorial to working with dates in Excel. In the first part, we will be focusing on the following features:

Excel date format

Before you can take advantage of powerful Excel date features, you have to understand how Microsoft Excel stores dates and times, because this is the main source of confusion. While you would expect Excel to remember the day, month and the year for a date, that's not how it works...

Excel stores dates as sequential numbers and it is only a cell's formatting that causes a number to be displayed as a date, time, or date and time.

Dates in Excel

All dates are stored as integers representing the number of days since January 1, 1900, which is stored as number 1, to December 31, 9999 stored as 2958465.

In this system:

  • 2 is 2-Jan-1900
  • 3 is 3-Jan-1900
  • 42005 is 1-Jan-2015 (because it is 42,005 days after January 1, 1900)

Time in Excel

Times are stored in Excel as decimals, between .0 and .99999, that represent a proportion of the day where .0 is 00:00:00 and .99999 is 23:59:59.

For example:

  • 0.25 is 06:00 AM
  • 0.5 is 12:00 PM
  • 0.541655093 is 12:59:59 PM

Dates & Times in Excel

Excel stores dates and times as decimal numbers comprised of an integer representing the date and a decimal portion representing the time.

For example:

  • 1.25 is January 1, 1900 6:00 AM
  • 42005.5 is January 1, 2015 12:00 PM

How to convert date to number in Excel

If you want to know what serial number represents a certain date or time displayed in a cell, you can do this in two ways.

1. Format Cells dialog

Select the cell with a date in Excel, press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells window and switch to the General tab.

If you just want to know the serial number behind the date, without actually converting date to number, write down the number you see under Sample and click Cancel to close the window. If you want to replace the date with the number in a cell, click OK.
Use the Format Cells dialog to get the number behind a given date in Excel.

2. Excel DATEVALUE and TIMEVALUE functions

Use the DATEVALUE() function to convert an Excel date to a serial number, for example =DATEVALUE("1/1/2015").

Use the TIMEVALUE() function to get the decimal number representing the time, for example =TIMEVALUE("6:30 AM").

To know both, date and time, concatenate these two functions in the following way:

=DATEVALUE("1/1/2015") & TIMEVALUE("6:00 AM")

Use the DATEVALUE and TIMEVALUE functions to find the number behind a given date and time in Excel.

Note. Since Excel's serial numbers begins on January 1, 1900 and negative numbers aren't recognized, dates prior to the year 1900 are not supported in Excel.

If you enter such a date in a sheet, say 12/31/1899, it will be a text value rather than a date, meaning that you cannot perform usual date arithmetic on early dates. To make sure, you can type the formula =DATEVALUE("12/31/1899") in some cell, and you will get an anticipated result - the #VALUE! error.

If you are dealing with date and time values and you'd like to convert time to decimal number, please check out the formulas described in this tutorial: How to convert time to decimal number in Excel.

Default date format in Excel

When you work with dates in Excel, the short and long date formats are retrieved from your Windows Regional settings. These default formats are marked with an asterisk (*) in the Format Cell dialog window:
Default date formats in Excel

The default date and time formats in the Format Cell box change as soon as you change the date and time settings in Control Panel, which leads us right to the next section.

How to change the default date and time formats in Excel

If you want to set a different default date and/or time formats on your computer, for example change the USA date format to the UK style, go to Control panel and click Region and Language. If in your Control panel opens in Category view, then click Clock, Language, and Region > Region and Language > Change the date, time, or number format.

On the Formats tab, choose the region under Format, and then set the date and time formatting by clicking on an arrow next to the format you want to change and selecting the desired one from the drop-down list:
Setting the default date and time formats in Control panel

Tip. If you are not sure what different codes (such as mmm, ddd, yyy) mean, click the "What does the notation mean" link under the Date and time formats section, or check the Custom Excel date formats in this tutorial.

If you are not happy with any time and date format available on the Formats tab, click the Additional settings button in the lower right-hand side of the Region and Language dialog window. This will open the Customize dialog, where you switch to the Date tab and enter a custom short or/and long date format in the corresponding box.
Setting the custom date and time formats

How to quickly apply default date and time formatting in Excel

Microsoft Excel has two default formats for dates and time - short and long, as explained in default Excel date format.

To quickly change date format in Excel to the default formatting, do the following:

  • Select the dates you want to format.
  • On the Home tab, in the Number group, click the little arrow next to the Number Format box, and select the desired format - short date, long date or time.

Quickly applying the default date and time formatting in Excel

If you want more date formatting options, either select More Number Formats from the drop-down list or click the Dialog Box Launcher next to Number. This will open a familiar Format Cells dialog and you can change date format there.

Click the Dialog Box Launcher to open the Format Cells dialog.

Tip. If you want to quickly set date format in Excel to dd-mmm-yy, press Ctrl+Shift+#. Just keep in mind that this shortcut always applies the dd-mmm-yy format, like 01-Jan-15, regardless of your Windows Region settings.

How to change date format in Excel

In Microsoft Excel, dates can be displayed in a variety of ways. When it comes to changing date format of a given cell or range of cells, the easiest way is to open the Format Cells dialog and choose one of the predefined formats.

  1. Select the dates whose format your want to change, or empty cells where you want to insert dates.
  2. Press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells dialog. Alternatively, you can right click the selected cells and choose Format Cells… from the context menu.
  3. In the Format Cells window, switch to the Number tab, and select Date in the Category list.
  4. Under Type, pick a desired date format. Once you do this, the Sample box will display the format preview with the first date in your selected data.
  5. If you are happy for the preview, click the OK button to save the format change and close the window.

Changing the date format in Excel

If the date format is not changing in your Excel sheet, most likely your dates are formatted as text and you have to convert them to the date format first.

How to convert date format to another locale

Once you've got a file full of foreign dates and you would most likely want to change them to the date format used in your part of the world. Let's say, you want to convert an American date format (month/day/year) to a European style format (day/month/year).

The easiest way to change date format in Excel based on how another language displays dates is as follows:

  • Select the column of dates you want to convert to another locale.
  • Press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells
  • Select the language you want under Locale (location) and click OK to save the change.

Converting Excel dates to another locale

If you want the dates to be displayed in another language, then you will have to create a custom date format with a locale code.

Creating a custom date format in Excel

If none of the predefined Excel date formats is suitable for you, you are free to create your own.

  1. In an Excel sheet, select the cells you want to format.
  2. Press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells dialog.
  3. On the Number tab, select Custom from the Category list and type the date format you want in the Type box.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Creating a custom date format in Excel

Tip. The easiest way to set a custom date format in Excel is to start from an existing format close to what you want. To do this, click Date in the Category list first, and select one of existing formats under Type. After that click Custom and make changes to the format displayed in the Type box.

When setting up a custom date format in Excel, you can use the following codes.

Code Description Example (January 1, 2005)
m Month number without a leading zero 1
mm Month number with a leading zero 01
mmm Month name, short form Jan
mmmm Month name, full form January
mmmmm Month as the first letter J (stands for January, June and July)
d Day number without a leading zero 1
dd Day number with a leading zero 01
ddd Day of the week, short form Mon
dddd Day of the week, full form Monday
yy Year (last 2 digits) 05
yyyy Year (4 digits) 2005

When setting up a custom time format in Excel, you can use the following codes.

Code Description Displays as
h Hours without a leading zero 0-23
hh Hours with a leading zero 00-23
m Minutes without a leading zero 0-59
mm Minutes with a leading zero 00-59
s Seconds without a leading zero 0-59
ss Seconds with a leading zero 00-59
AM/PM Periods of the day
(if omitted, 24-hour time format is used)
AM or PM

To set up date and time format, include both date and time units in your format code, e.g. m/d/yyyy h:mm AM/PM. When you use "m" immediately after "hh" or "h" or immediately before "ss" or "s", Excel will display minutes, not a month.

When creating a custom date format in Excel, you can use a comma (,) dash (-), slash (/), colon (:) and other characters.

For example, the same date and time, say January 13, 2015 13:03, can be displayed in a various ways:

Format Displays as
dd-mmm-yy 13-Jan-15
mm/dd/yyyy 01/13/2015
m/dd/yy 1/13/15
dddd, m/d/yy h:mm AM/PM Tuesday, 1/13/15 1:03 PM
ddd, mmmm dd, yyyy hh:mm:ss Tue, January 13, 2015 13:03:00

How to create a custom Excel date format for another locale

If you want to display dates in another language, you have to create a custom format and prefix a date with a corresponding locale code. The locale code should be enclosed in [square brackets] and preceded with the dollar sign ($) and a dash (-). Here are a few examples:

  • [$-409] - English, Untitled States
  • [$-1009] - English, Canada
  • [$-407] - German, Germany
  • [$-807] - German, Switzerland
  • [$-804] - Bengali, India
  • [$-804] - Chinese, China
  • [$-404] - Chinese, Taiwan

You can find the full list of locale codes on this blog.

For example, this is how you set up a custom Excel date format for the Chinese locale in the year-month-day (day of the week) time format:
Creating a custom Excel date format for the Chinese locale

The following image shows a few examples of the same date formatted with different locale codes in the way traditional for the corresponding languages:
Custom date formats for different locales

Excel date format not working - fixes and solutions

Usually, Microsoft Excel understands dates very well and you are unlikely to hit any roadblock when working with them. If you happen to have an Excel date format problem, please check out the following troubleshooting tips.

A cell is not wide enough to fit an entire date

If you see a number of pound signs (#####) instead of dates in your Excel worksheet, most likely your cells are not wide enough to fit the whole dates.

Solution. Double-click the right border of the column to resize it to auto fit the dates. Alternatively, you can drag the right border to set the column width you want.

Negative numbers are formatted as dates

In all modern versions of Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007, hash marks (#####) are also displayed when a cell formatted as a date or time contains a negative value. Usually it's a result returned by some formula, but it may also happen when you type a negative value into a cell and then format that cell as a date.

If you want to display negative numbers as negative dates, two options are available to you:

Solution 1. Switch to the 1904 date system.

Go to File > Options > Advanced, scroll down to the When calculating this workbook section, select the Use 1904 date system check box, and click OK.
Switching to the 1904 date system

In this system, 0 is 1-Jan-1904; 1 is 2-Jan-1904; and -1 is displayed as a negative date -2-Jan-1904.
Negative numbers are displayed as negative dates

Of course, such representation is very unusual and takes time to get used to, but this is the right way to go if you want to perform calculations with early dates.

Solution 2. Use the Excel TEXT function.

Another possible way to display negative numbers as negative dates in Excel is using the TEXT function. For example, if you are subtracting C1 from B1 and a value in C1 is greater than in B1, you can use the following formula to output the result in the date format:

Use the Excel TEXT function to display negative numbers as dates.

You may want to change the cell alignment to right justified, and naturally, you can use any other custom date formats in the TEXT formula.

Note. Unlike the previous solution, the TEXT function returns a text value, that is why you won't be able to use the result in other calculations.

Dates are imported to Excel as text values

When you are importing data to Excel from a .csv file or some other external database, dates are often imported as text values. They may look like normal dates to you, but Excel perceives them as text and treats accordingly.

Solution. You can convert "text dates" to the date format using Excel's DATEVALUE function or Text to Columns feature. Please see the following article for full details: How to convert text to date in Excel.

This is how you format dates in Excel. In the next part of our guide, we will discuss various ways of how you can insert dates and times in your Excel worksheets. Thank you for reading and see you next week!

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735 comments to "How to change date format in Excel and create custom formatting"

  1. Dipen Sura says:

    In excel 2016 where we are using the pivot table from base data , how we can change the date formate. e.g. I have used date format 01-09-2016 in base sheet and while creating pivot , date format changed to 01- sep. As I am going to use pivot for H-lookup, its not finding the value. Can anyone suggest solution?

  2. Praveen says:

    HI i have a column containing dates in 2 formats i tried converting them to 1 format using Format cells Date option but it was not successful. Can you please provide me a solution for this.

  3. Shrirang says:

    Excel date 01/04/2016, while converstion for upload a file to VAT,it changes as 16-/1-4, so error occured in in uploaind to VAT, Plz reply how to format date


  4. Mfathima says:


    I have an issue getting the result in "if" function as a date. my formula is =IF(NOT(ISERROR(DATEVALUE(TEXT(A1,"YYYY-MM-DD")))),"YYYY-MM-DD","NULL"). when the result is true I want the formula to give me the result as the actual date as A1. Instead it is giving the result as "YYYY-MM-DD". Please let me know how to fix this issue.

    Thanks Mfathima

  5. New_User says:

    hi to convert this from "26.08.2016 14:02:55" hh:mm:ss to this format "08/26/2016 14:02:55" mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss in excel... thank you

  6. Rebat Pal says:

    while copying excel cell into words file , date changes into consolidated /equivalent number, which does not make sense on ordinary reading , how to avoid this change of formatted date into its equivalent integre number

  7. Sara says:

    I can't find any information on how to have a date range to be recognized as a date.

    For example: September 1-3, 2016

    When I sort multiple dates but there are some date ranges (i.e. September 1-3, 2016) those date ranges sort to the bottom and aren't recognized as an ACTUAL date. How do I get excel to recognize it as a date?

    I tried formatting the cell in multiple different ways including:

    mmmm d-d, yyyy
    mmmm d, yyyy

    But nothing worked. Can you please help? I just need to be able to sort my spreadsheet by date (oldest to newest) and can't if the date ranges aren't being recognized as a date.


  8. Tammy Garrison says:

    I need 3 formulas in excel.

    1. one that does a negative countdown in months for a 3 year time-frame from a list of dates.

    2. one that does a negative countdown in days for a 3 year time-frame from a list of dates.

    3. one that calculates age in terms of years and months from a list of certain dates.

    I have a system using the =DATEDIF command but in Excel 2013, I'm getting errors for the current formulas I'm using. Any help would be greatly appreciated for a non-math, non-Excel wizard.

  9. Zianca says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    I have a huge data set ranging from 2013 to 2016 and want to sort my data based on months, so have all the Januaries, Februaries, Marches, etc. together regardless of year. Is there a simple way to sort the data such?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Zianca,

      Here's a simple solution that comes to mind:

      1. In an empty column next to your Dates column, enter the formula to extract a month, e.g. =MONTH(A2)
      2. Apply Excel's AutoFilter and sort by the Month column, from smallest to largest.
      3. Delete or hide the Month column.

  10. salman majid says:


    4/1/2016 i.e. date/month/year how can i change it back to 1-4-2016

  11. Sanjeev says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    How to convert text (specifically, July 5th 2016) into a date? I tried using Datevalue function etc. I am looking for an answer for any text date where in dates are mentioned in "st", "th" and "nd" format. (e.g. July 5th 2016
    , June 1st 2016 and May 2nd 2016)


  12. Quek says:

    I have a problem when I enable the date autoformat. When I key in 1/20 or 1-20, the excel autocorrects to 20-01-2016 as per my autoformat setting.
    The problem happens when I key 20/1 or 20-, the date is not autocorrected as a date..

    Please help. Thanks

    • Hi Quek,

      To prevent this from happening, preface the fraction with a zero and a space. For example, instead of 20/1, type 0 20/1. Or, type a space or apostrophe before 1-20, like '1-20. The apostrophe won't be visible in cells, only in the formula bar.

  13. Louc says:

    I have fields with dates displaying as 20-JAN-2016, for example. The format in the cell is actually 1/20/2014. (The number format of the cell is Custom). I would like to use the formula =MID to create a column to display the month (JAN) but since the format is slashes instead of dashes, it does not work. The fixes I see on this page don't actually change the format in the cell, only the display to dashes. Can you help?

  14. Raiza says:


    How can I change the format of the following dates
    07/01/2016 to 1st of July 2016
    07/02/2016 to 2nd of July 2016
    07/03/2016 to 3rd of July 2016
    07/04/2016 to 4th of July 2016
    and so on? Greatly appreciate your help on this.

  15. Alex says:

    How do I change the date format that displays as: 10/30/2013 12:00:00 AM (it is now all in one cell)? I know how to do text to columns using space and / to separate but it doesn't seem to work. Ultimately I want only the YEAR in one column.

  16. Sushma says:


    How do i change 02/01/2015 00:00:00 to date only?

    I tried text to columns but its not working


  17. Prakash says:

    Very good article.
    It helped me a lot to understand the error messages for some formula which includes date formates.
    Also, I refer this site for anything in connection with excel.
    Please continue to do this good work.
    All the very best.
    And, thank you very much.

  18. anthony says:

    Can you tell me how to put the days of the week in order when making a chart?

    have a list in SP. Created chart with field (day: which tell what day of week the a date fell on) I made the chart (chart: what days do people stay late at work the most - 180days.

  19. shariq says:

    Date is 01-05-2016 i.e. 1 may,2016 but excel sheet is considering it 05/01/2016 i.e 5 Jan, 2016, how can i get my date?

  20. Maan says:


    I am currently updating my company's Excel files. I wanted to add the day's date in a cell if a project is marked completed. ive' used the following formula: =IF(ISTEXT(U:U), NOW(), ("")). it worked but I am facing a problem. the projects that were marked completed had the date in the cells next to them but the dates keep changing everyday. can you please help me with telling me the right formula to add an unchanging date using IF function?

    Thank you,


  21. Mark says:

    Good afternoon Svetlana

    Is it possible to convert 01/01/16-31/12/16 in Excel to display as
    1 Jan 16-31 Dec 16 , please?

    Kind regards,


  22. SHIV says:

    HELLO...I have a problem in my excel sheet.

    I have an SCADA system which generate and excel file with some values.

    But problem is that my excel file not showing the date& time format in sequential order that is from old to new order. There is not proper sequence.
    How to fix this problem permanently.

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  24. Sid says:

    Please help .

    I had few dates in mm/dd/yy format n the new date entered is I. Ddmmyy format how can I make into stander format

  25. Damjan says:

    Dear Svetlana,

    How to convert this data in to a general numbers?


    Thank you

  26. Damjan says:

    Dear Svetlana,

    I have downloaded Adwords report in Exel file and in column Average Position where should be the general number, I got a date (for exemple jan.1 instead of 1,1. My problem is that I don't know how to convert date in to a general number. The option formatting doesn't work as I got some number like this 42370... Please help.

    Thank you. Damjan

  27. Karthikeyan says:

    Dear Madam,
    I entered the value 23.5.2015 or 23.5.15 in a cell but how to change the value to date format(23-05-15) easily.

    • Karthikeyan says:

      Dear all,
      With reference to the above question, I found the answer from your link (Find and replace formula . to /).
      Thanks to Svetlana Cheusheva

  28. Raghu Jangamakote says:

    Please help me, I am going crazy. In the following list of dates you will see two formats of dates, I want all of them to be arranged mm/dd/yyyy. When I try to format it doesn't work for some reason, here is a sample list:

  29. Mehran says:

    Hi,I have some numbers like "2-4" when I copy them to excel they appear like "4-Feb". I want the numbers keep their own format. Could you tell me how to convert?

  30. Sam says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    Seems like you are the guru of Excel so here goes my question.
    I tried to add 7 days to my date format from a cell but it still comes us as #VALUE! For example my date was in A1 i typed =A1+7. No fixes around. Changed the whole worksheet's format to date as well but still does not work. Hope you can help.


  31. Chandra Sekhar Reddy says:

    I have doubt,can any one help me how to alter the date which is included in exisiting formulae.

  32. Binod says:

    We need to change format
    From to
    04-02-2016 02-04-2016
    04-02-2016 02-04-2016

    Please help me for the same

    • Hello Binod,

      Select all the cells with your dates, press Ctrl+1, select 'Custom' under Categories, and type the following format in the Type box:

      Assuming that in "02-04-2016", 02 is the day and 04 is the month.

  33. Leanne says:

    In my country we show the date as yyyy/mm/dd or dd/mm/yyyy. My region is set correctly, but when I input a date such as 1 May, I insert 1/5. The cell automatically changes to 2016-01-05 (which looks like 5 January to me. My settings all appear to be correct.

    Any suggestions?

  34. C.T says:



  35. C.T says:


    I WANT TO CONVERT THIS AS 05/22/2015

  36. David says:

    Simple question (I think), I need to display the date as a year and week number (2016-16 for example). I can manage to get the 'today' ok in date format and can get the week-number in a separate do I get the format I'm looking for, year-week number?


  37. Amy says:


    I need to set up a spreadsheet that when opened will put in the date. HOWEVER - it will be printed from 8pm-10pm and will need to be dated the next day's date. Please help.

  38. waqas says:

    in my excel sheet i am trying to split month, day, year but there's an issue. some date are typed as mm/dd/yyyy format but some are in dd/mm/yyyy. in first case (mm/dd/yyyy) when i split it works well but those cells that are in dd/mm/yyyy format appear with error. i'll be thankful if someone can help me out.

  39. Nicole says:

    I have an Excel date that I need to be just the month & year. Although I can format it to mm/yy when the data is entered for example as 10/18 (Oct 2018) Excel changes takes it as to 10/18/16 and shows 10/16. How can I correct this?

  40. sabari says:


    I am unable to change the said date 24-08-2016 to 24-08-16, i tried different methods as u said above..i went through cutom typing ddmmyy but still displays the same format, Pls help

  41. Atul Kumar says:

    I have problem changing the format of date.When i am entering 20.03.2016 manually in a cell and substituating "." with "/" and than changing it to with VALUE funtion and then applying TEXT function to get the as 20-March-2016.
    I am not getting the solution.

    Please provide relevant solution for this.

  42. Marika says:

    Can anyone help me, Im having difficulties with formatting the date in excel to look the same on all columns, this is the data I have for example:

    but I need all the columns to look (example) 20-05-15.

    I have tried several things but can not get them all to the same format.

    Please help.


  43. Kaps says:

    My query is regarding date format. is it possible? if i enter a single number in cell and it show particular date. For example like current month is february 2016.

    if i enter 1 then it show 02/01/2016(mm/dd/yyyy)
    if i enter 15 then it show 02/15/2016(mm/dd/yyyy)
    if i enter 23 then it show 02/23/2016(mm/dd/yyyy)

    I just want to enter only one digit and it show me date of this digit with current month.

  44. Elizabeth says:

    I have an excel 2013 sheet that has "format as a table" and the top row is headers with a drop down for sorting. A group of column headers are dates and they are formatted as such. However, some of the dates (formated as mm/dd/yy), are throwing an extra number on the end of the date. If I input 02/10/16, it insert 02/10/162 in the cell. How do I fix this? And the sample under Format Cells, Date, mm/dd/yy shows mm/dd/yyy.

  45. Pedro says:

    Hello everyone
    Does anyone knows how to convert a date in pivot table into a fortnight? For example, 2015-07-09 is the first fortnight and 2015-09-16 is the second fortnight.
    Many thanks to you all

  46. Cookie says:

    Hi Svetlana! I've received a csv file from Shelfari of all the books I've placed on their "shelves" to import into Goodreads, as Shelfari is being taken over by Goodreads; both are Amazon websites. I've been told by Goodreads that I must use a csv file with a date format of yyyyy-mm-dd (they stipulated dashes between numbers rather than slashes) to have my "date read" column import accurately, i.e., show that i read a book on January 12, 2014 instead of December 1, 2014.

    After I create a custom date format (yyyy-mm-dd -- but I've also tried yyyy/mm/dd) for the date read column, I save the file as a csv(comma delimited) type and choose "yes" to keep this format but leave out incompatible features. If I choose "no", the changes must be saved in another type/format, but Goodreads needs a csv file so I have to choose yes.

    So I choose yes and save as a csv. But when I try to close the file window I get the pop up box: do you want to save the changes you made to the file? (I thought I just had!) and have to answer the box explaining the incompatible features again (I thought I just had!). Whether I choose yes or no to save at this point and whether I use dashes or slashes to separate the numbers, when I reopen the file, the dates are back to the original mm/dd/yyyy format. I'm using Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and am running Windows 10.

    I hope you can help me save these dates in the format Goodreads has asked for: yyyy-mm-dd instead of the format Shelfari sent me in the csv file mm/dd/yyyy.
    Thanks so much,

  47. Rizo says:

    I was sent a spreadsheet on the date column is has it as 20140207 but I need to change it to 2/7/2014 but when I go to the Format Cell and date and try to change the date format all I get are ########## even if I try to make the cell bigger I get the same thing.

      • Hello Rizo,

        Excel perceives 20140207 as a number and is unable to convert it to a date on its own. That is why you are seeing those hash marks.

        Assuming that 02 is a month and 07 is a day, you can use the following formula to convert a number to date:

        =DATE(LEFT(A1,4), MID(A1,5,2), RIGHT(A1,2))

        The formula returns a serial number representing a date in the internal Excel system. And now, you can open the Format Cells dialog and set the date format you want.

  48. prashanth says:


    I WANT TO CONVERT THIS AS 05/22/2015


  49. sanjay says:

    Employee attendance tables in Excel field is -Personal No. date month from-16.12.2015 to 15.01.2015 this format i want to Sheet and also his -duty,overtimes,leave,calculate this table type
    PerNo. - Date- time period- hours
    from - to -
    98264532 16.12.2015 09:00- 17:30 7.5

    • Hi Aditya,

      It's one of the predefined Excel formats for dates. So, simply select the cell(s), press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells dialog, and switch to Dates. Then under the Type section, scroll to the very bottom, and select the format like "14-Mar-2012".

  50. Roger says:

    Vipin Kumar:
    If I understand your problem right, you can try


    Good Luck!

  51. JAYAPRAKASH says:


    I WANT TO CONVERT THIS AS 05/22/2015

    • prashanth says:


      I WANT TO CONVERT THIS AS 05/22/2015


      • MJ says:

        Hi can you help me?

        from CVS file. The date shows 01/07/2016 which is July 1, 2016, But when I format the cell and click the format 14-Mar-01 which means"March 14, 2001" it shows 1-Jul-16 which is January 7, 2016. how I can make it July 1, 2016 which is suppose to be the date.

        Thank you.

  52. Willy says:

    Hi, how do I replace cells with format 00:03:13:79 by 00:03:13,79 for a whole column?
    I need to be able to add those time values (in format uu:mm:ss,00;@). When I simply replace the last ":" by "," it works, but changing all those cells by hand would take ages...

  53. Terry says:

    In Canada the government has specific date format that is legislated for food items. The format for the Date is as follows: 08 JA 30
    January: JA
    February: FE
    March: MR
    April: AL
    May: MA
    June: JN
    July: JL
    August: AU
    September: SE
    October: OC
    November: NO
    December: DE

    My question is how can excel use AL for April or MR for March? Much appreciated.

  54. Mark says:

    I found the answer to my question thought I would share

    DATE: =LEFT($D2,2)&"/"&MID($D2,3,2)&"/15"

    TIME: =MID($D2,5,2)&":"&MID($D2,7,2)&":"&RIGHT($D2,2)

    Hope someone else needs it :-)


  55. Luis says:

    Hi, I need to convert a date format like this: dd mm (no dash, comma, colon as separation characters between day and month values) to any date format which can be recognized by excel. Already tried with custom format without any success....can you help me?

  56. REMON says:

    please help i need to create date format as yyyymmdd (20151230)= 30/12/2015 . i have tryed but it's not working . advice your assisstance

  57. Rich says:

    Is it possible to convert a date in excel to an 11 digit interga 11 format.
    So this equates to the time in seconds since 1970.

  58. JoeD says:

    The second link in this whole section is:
    How to convert date to number in Excel

    I need the reverse
    How to convert a serial number to date in Excel
    but have not found it. Think of is as a trig function where I want to do the reverse. It's probably somewhere on the net, and I just can't see it... Getting old I guess... Can you help?? Thanks. JoeD 20151102 (I see this date format is becoming more popular; I've used it for about 30 years even with 4 decimals appended

  59. Mark says:

    I need to covert a cell that contains both the date and time 1027154048 (1027 is the date and 154048 is hour (15=3) minutes and seconds. I need to be able to convert by formula into two separate cells if possible without going in and separating the numbers manually for each cell?

  60. Adonay Carmona says:

    Hi...I have several columns under the following format: "SEP-16-2013" until "SEP-16-2015" but when I try to change the "GENERAL" format to "DATE" format, excel does nothing and I need to filter the info by specific month,day,year. If I replace "SEP" to "09" I am abble to change the format (as DATE), but I have at least 60 columns under that format and have it done this way takes a lot of time...any suggestions?

  61. Marco says:

    Hi there,
    i am importing a csv file and i have a column with date (in chinese e.g. 8月28日 which is 28th of August) but when i import this file (and replace the chinese characters with "/") some of the dates is shown as a date and some other as text. Despite of it if i try to change the format of the "text" date, it doesn't show the number as it is supposed to show.
    It is very difficult to find a solution i have been struggling for the entire day.
    Can replace the date one by one as we are talking several files with several thousands of row each.
    I trie to change my local language setting as well but no solution unfortunately.
    Any helps?

  62. Désirée says:

    Can someone help with an issue we are having. The format of our Excel is Swedish. when I type a date into a cell with no (General) format, such as 3/10 (meaning October 3rd) Excel changes this to 10/3 and applies a custom format to the cell. How can I get Excel to simply accept what I have entered as the correct format and not change the order?

    • Hazel says:

      Did you managed to get a solution? I'm facing the same issue. Can't seems to find the answer and so far, you're the only one that is asking this question. How to change the sequence? 1/5 to be 1st May instead of 5th Jan. Please help.

  63. Saquib Shahnawaz says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    how can i format an excel cell which will give me a day format which will give me in days more than 31. Whenever I am giving a day with the format "dd" the same is showing as 1 for 32 days and so on.Please help

  64. Susana says:

    Excellent article! I was going crazy trying to fix an issue with dates from an old file that didn't convert correctly when I upgraded and I finally could. Thank you very much!

  65. adit says:

    hi svet? can you help me. why when i typed like 01012010 means Jan 1st 2010 the result is 14/10/4670 ? is there any way i can custom the date, so when i type 01012010 the result is 01/01/2010 ? thanks advance

  66. Vikram says:

    Hi, could please help me how to find the volume for the date and time stamp.
    Eg: 12:00:00 AM, i need how many no of cases for that day???

  67. Ankit says:

    I have the exact same problem. I already tried erasing the excel keys from the windows registry, I have tried to reset excel, and lastly run an office repair but I still cannot make it work, some dates change and some don't even though all of the dates are on the exact same column with the exact same formatting. Did you ever find a way to fix it?

  68. Doug says:

    Using Excel 365.
    I know how to create a Custom Format for dates using the Format Dialog Box. In some mail merge data files I create, I want to use the same date format each time I export the data from Access into Excel.

    I don't want to retype the format each time I use it in a new merge file. Is there a way to save the format in Excel so I select it instead of needing to create it new each time. I want to enter the keystrokes once and reuse the format each time I export my data into Excel to run a merge?


    • Maggie says:

      Doug, did you ever figure out a way to save your custom date format? I'm trying to do the same thing. I'd like my custom date/time formatting to be an option I can select rather than have to type it into the custom box every time.

    • Rajev Parihar says:

      Date Amount
      7/1/2015 83098 Avg Amount Weekday Mon
      7/2/2015 70699 1st Week Week Day Tue
      7/3/2015 81769 Weekend Day Wed
      7/4/2015 59426 2nd Week Week Day Thu
      7/5/2015 57018 Weekend Day Fri
      7/6/2015 88446 3rd Week Week Day
      7/7/2015 71574 Weekend Day Weekend Sat
      7/8/2015 79595 4th Week Week Day Sun
      7/9/2015 76862 Weekend Day
      7/10/2015 86939 5th Week Week Day
      7/11/2015 55152 Weekend Day
      7/12/2015 53965
      7/13/2015 75443
      7/14/2015 84495
      7/15/2015 80454
      7/16/2015 75999 Q): - you have to find "week day" and "week end day" Avg for the month.
      7/17/2015 80011 Note:- everything will be automatic, you are not alowed to put anythin manualy.
      7/18/2015 58481 Note:- if you want you can insert new row or column. (try to make simple and easy formula)
      7/19/2015 50221
      7/20/2015 76699
      7/21/2015 84291
      7/22/2015 77361 I need this solution and how
      7/23/2015 75877
      7/24/2015 82523
      7/25/2015 57064
      7/26/2015 56603
      7/27/2015 88283
      7/28/2015 77222
      7/29/2015 85175
      7/30/2015 86431
      7/31/2015 88306

  69. smita says:

    Hi, i am trying all the above possibilities but unable to change format for date example "15/6/2015 09:36:40 AM" pls suggest me

  70. Brian says:

    How do you get the following date formats:

    If a formula results 01/15. How can I format to read JA/15.

    Each month will have its own letter combo.

  71. A says:

    I have one question on date formats. I have some excel files exported from a web based tool from different locale and some files has date format as dd/mm/yyyy and some has mm/dd/yyyy. Now I Have to export them into a access DB which is throwing error due to diff date formats. As I have over 100 files can some one suggest is there a way to make the date format similar when exporting into access?

  72. Reuben says:

    I’m looking for some help in excel I’m trying to automatically insert today's date in a cell when certain cells have data but I don’t what that date to change in the future/when I next open Excel

    This is what I have so far.

    =IF(OR(B2>0,H2>0),TODAY(), "FALSE")

    From what I have read if I open the workbook tomorrow it will update all the previously dated cells.

    Has anyone advice or a way to fix this ?

  73. jibu says:

    dear Svetlana,
    Thanks so much for the index. match formula.. but there a error coming in some of the cell where date in not picking (it is taking some unknown date like 00-00-00) . how can i fix that error.please help

    • Hi Jibu,

      Index / Match is very powerful indeed, since I learned it I've practically given up on using Vlookup.

      As for the error, sorry, it's next to impossible to advise anything without seeing your data. If you could post this question on our Excel forum with a sample workbook attached, our support team will try to help.

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