How to create calendar in Excel (drop-down and printable)

The tutorial shows how to insert a drop-down calendar in Excel (date picker) and link it to a specific cell. You will also learn a quick way to create a printable calendar based on an Excel calendar template.

When working with large or shared worksheets, maintaining data integrity is the biggest problem, especially when it comes to entering dates. Should they be entered as mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy or mm-dd-yyyy? And can I simply type a date like "05 Sep 2016"? Oh, and what was the date of the first Monday in September this year?

All of the above problems can easily be solved by inserting a drop down calendar that will let your users fill in dates in a mouse click! This tutorial will teach you an easy way to make such a calendar in Excel, and show how to quickly create a calendar based on a template.

How to insert a calendar in Excel (Date Picker control)

Inserting a dropdown calendar in Excel is easy, but because the Date and Time Picker Control is so well hidden many users don't even know that it exists. The following guidelines will walk you through the process step-by-step, but first be sure to read the following important note.

Note. Microsoft's Date Picker control works with 32-bit versions of Excel 2016, Excel 2013, and Excel 2010, but it will not work on Excel 64-bit.

To insert a calendar in Excel, perform the following steps.

1. Show the Developer tab on the ribbon

The datepicker control belongs to a family of ActiveX controls, which reside on the Developer tab. By default, the Developer tab is hidden in Excel, but you can force it to appear in no time.

  • Right-click anywhere on the ribbon, and then click Customize the Ribbon
  • In the right-hand part of the window, select Main Tabs (usually it is selected by default), check the Developer box, and click OK.

Add the Developer tab to the Excel ribbon.

2. Insert a calendar control

A drop-down calendar in Excel is technically called Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control. To insert it in your sheet, just do the following:

  • Go to the Developer tab > Controls group, click Insert, and then click the More Controls button under ActiveX Controls.
    To insert a calendar, click the More Controls button under ActiveX Controls.
  • In the More Controls dialog window, find the Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control 6.0 (SP6), select it, and click OK.
    Select Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control

    If you cannot find the Date and Time Picker Control in the list, please follow these instructions to register it.

  • Finally, click on a cell where you want to insert the calendar control.

That's it! A drop down calendar control is inserted in your Excel sheet:
The datepicker control is inserted in Excel.

As soon as the datepicker control is inserted, the EMBED formula appears in the formula bar. It informs Excel what type of control is embedded in the sheet, and in no case you should change or delete it, because this would result in the "Reference is not valid" error.

Inserting any ActiveX control (including DTPiker) automatically turns the Design Mode on allowing you to modify the appearance and properties of the newly added control. The most obvious changes that you will want to make most of the time is to resize your calendar control and link it to a specific cell.

To activate your Excel drop down calendar, go to the Design tab > Controls group, and turn off the Design Mode:
To activate a drop down calendar, turn off the Design Mode.

And now, you can click on the dropdown arrow to display the calendar and select the desired date:
Click on the dropdown arrow and select the desired date.

Note. If the Microsoft Date Piker control is not available in the More Controls list, it's most likely because of the following reasons:

  • You are using the 64 bit version of Office. Regrettably, there is no official date picker control for Office 64-bit. The only solution is using a third-party calendar for Excel.
  • The calendar control (mscomct2.ocx) is not available or is not registered on your machine. To fix this, please follow these instructions: How to register the calendar control.

3. Customize the calendar control

After adding a calendar control to your Excel sheet, the first thing you may to do is to move it to the desired location and get it to fit into a cell.

To resize the datepicker control, turn the Design Mode on, and drag a corner of the control:
To resize the datepicker, drag a corner of the control.

Alternatively, with the Design Mode on, select your calendar control, and click Properties:
To customize the calendar control, click Properties.

In the Properties window, you can set the desired height, width as well as change the font theme and size:
In the Properties window, set the desired height, width, font theme and size

To move the datepicker control, hover your mouse over it and as soon as the cursor changes to a four-pointed arrow, drag the control where you want it.
To move the datepicker, drag the control where you want it.

4. Link the calendar control to a cell

Now that you have successfully added a drop down calendar in Excel, you may also want to link it to a specific cell. It is absolutely necessary if you intend to use the selected dates in formulas.

Let's say, you've written a formula to count the number of orders between the specified dates. To prevent your users from inputting incorrect dates like 2/30/2016, you inserted the dropdown calendars in 2 cells (A2 and B2 in this example). However, your obviously correct COUNTIFS formula returns zero, although you can clearly see a few orders within the specified time period!
Excel cannot recognize the value of a date picker control until you link it to a certain cell.

The reason is that Excel cannot recognize the value of a date picker control until you associate it with a certain cell. To fix this, link your date picker controls to some cells in this way:

  1. With the Design Mode is on, select the calendar control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.
  3. In the Properties windows, find the LinkedCell property, and type a cell reference next to it (A3 in this example):
    Linking the date picker control to a specific cell

If Excel displays the "Can't set cell value to NULL…" error, just click OK to ignore it.

And now, as soon as you select a date in the dropdown calendar, that date immediately appears in a linked cell. As shown in the screenshot below, Excel has no problem with understanding such dates, and our formula referencing the linked cells (A3 and B3) works perfectly:
A formula referencing the linked cells works perfectly.

If you don't want to clutter your worksheet with "extra dates", you can link your date picker controls to the cells where they reside (A2 and B2 in this example). In this case, the underling dates won't be visible to the users, but you and Excel will know they are there and your formula will work faultlessly again:
The date picker controls are linked to the cells where the controls reside.

How to register the Calendar control on your machine

In earlier versions of Excel, the Date and Time Picker Control (mscomct2.ocx in Excel 2010 and 2013 and mscal.ocx in Excel 2007) was usually included with the default installation. The users of Excel 2016 will have to download and register this control manually. Here's how:

1. Check if mscomct2.ocx exists on your machine

For starters, check if the Microsoft Calendar Control is available on your machine. To do this, click the Start button (Office button), type mscomct2.ocx (or mscal.ocx in Excel 2007 and earlier) in the Search box, and click Enter.

If the mscomct2.ocx file is found, skip the next step, and proceed with step 3.

2. Download Microsoft Date and Time Picker control

If the Microsoft Date Picker Control is not found on your machine, you can download it using this link. Please remember, this control works only for the 32-bit version of Excel 2016, Excel 2013 and Excel 2010.

Once the mscomct2.zip file is downloaded, extract mscomct2.ocx, and copy it to one of the following folders depending on your Windows' bits:

  • On Windows 32-bit: C:\Windows\System32
  • On Windows 64-bit: C:\Windows\SysWoW64
    Tip. A quick way to check the operating system information is to open Windows Explorer, right click Computer, and click Properties.

You must have the administrative permissions to copy files to the system folders. If you do have the admin permissions, but still get the Destination Folder Access Denied dialog, simply click Continue:
Extract mscomct2.ocx and copy it to the system folder.

3. Register the calendar control in your system

Not only the calendar control (mscomct2.ocx) should exist on your computer, it should also be registered in the system. To have it done, perform the following steps:

  1. Click the Start button and type "command" in the search box, but don't press the Enter key.
  2. Right click Command Prompt at the top of the search results, and then click Run as Administrator.
    Right click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. In the Administrator dialog box, enter one of the following commands, and then press Enter:

    For Windows 32 bit:

    C:\Windows\System32\regsvr32.exe mscomct2.ocx

    For Windows 64 bit:

    C:\Windows\SysWoW64\regsvr32.exe mscomct2.ocx
    Register the calendar control in your system

    Note. By default, the copy/paste shortcuts are disabled in the command prompt window. To paste the command, position the cursor where you want the text to be inserted, then right-click on the command prompt's title bar, point to Edit, and click Paste.

Alternatively, you can copy/paste the command in any text editor such as Notepad, save the file with the .bat extension (e.g. reg.bat) anywhere on your computer, right-click the .bat file, and then click Run as Administrator.
Another way to register mscomct2.ocx on your computer.

Either way, mscomct2.ocx should be successfully registered on your machine.
Mscomct2.ocx is successfully registered.

Once mscomct2.ocx is registered, restart your Excel, go to the Developer tab, click Insert > More Controls, and Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control will be there.

Note. Although you can register the calendar control for Windows 64 bit, it will work for Office 32 bit only. Even if you add a reference to mscomct2.ocx/mscal.ocx in Excel 64 bit, it will still return the "Could not load an object because it is not available on this machine" error.

Third-party tools to insert calendar in Excel

As already mentioned, Microsoft's Date and Time Picker controls work only in the 32-bit versions of Excel. If moving from 64-bits to 32-bits is not your option, third party tools may be the only working solution. Below you will find a couple of free drop-down calendars that work with both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Excel.

Excel Date Picker

Excel Date Picker from samradapps.com is a beautifully designed and easy to use calendar that supports all versions of Excel 2007 to 2016.

It adds the Date Picker button to the ribbon, and optionally, an item to the right click menu. Also, a small calendar button appears on the sheet when you type or select a date. If necessary, you can change date format as usual in Excel - a nice feature that Microsoft's Date and Time Picker control lacks!

And I confirm that it works without a hitch in my Excel 2016 64 bit.
Excel Date Picker

Pop-up Excel Calendar

It is another free pop-up calendar for Excel 2003 to 2016. Although support for 64 bit Excel is declared by the manufacture, it throws sporadic errors in my Excel 2013 and 2016 64 bit.

In all other respects, it's a handy little tool that displays a calendar whenever needed - for cells containing date values, date formats or certain labels.
Pop-up Excel Calendar

Pop-up calendars for Excel Online

If you often manage time tables, schedules and to-do lists in Excel Online, you may find the following Calendar add-ins helpful.

XLTools.net Calendar - one inserted, the below calendar appears on the sheet enabling you to enter or change a date in a click.
XLTools.net Calendar

Modern Calendar & Date Picker - a pop-up calendar that works with the desktop versions of Excel 2013 and 2016, Excel 2016 for Mac, and Excel Online. It includes dozens of themes for you to choose from and costs around $1.50.

Mini Calendar and Date Picker - another low-cost calendar for Excel Online, Excel 2013, Excel 2016 and Excel 2016 for Mac. It allows you to toggle the size of the calendar, show week numbers, switch between the U.S. or ISO calendar systems, and choose different themes.

How to make a calendar in Excel based on a template

In addition to spreadsheets that can calculate nearly everything, Microsoft Excel includes a handful of graphic options with drawing tools, clipart, charts, tables, etc. Using these features, you can easily create a weekly or monthly calendar with your own photos and special occasion days such as birthdays or anniversaries. The detailed guidelines to create a custom Excel monthly calendar can be found here.

However, the fastest and easiest way create a calendar in Excel is to pick a free Excel calendar template. For this, just click File > New, and type "calendar" in the search box. Excel will search through thousands of templates online and show you a selection of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendar templates grouped into categories, like shown in the screenshot below:
To get a selection of Excel calendar templates, click File > New, and type calendar in the search box.

Select the calendar template that you liked the most, and click Create:
To make a calendar based on a template, click on it, and then click Create.

That's it! The calendar template will open up in a new workbook, and you can print it out straight away or customize to your liking. Generally, an Excel calendar template can be set to any year, some templates also allow setting a day to start the week.

Tip. To ensure that your Excel calendar always displays the current year, you can enter the following simple formula in the year cell: =YEAR(TODAY())
For your Excel calendar to always displays the current year, use this formula.

Well, this is how you can insert a drop-down calendar and make a printable calendar in Excel. Hopefully you will find the information in this tutorial helpful. Anyway, I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!

39 Responses to "How to create calendar in Excel (drop-down and printable)"

  1. Mike says:

    Hi! I love this blog.
    How can I signup to receive these posts to my inbox???

  2. Dippak says:


    0 to 60 against 15

    61 to 100 against 20

    101 to 150 against 30
    How to if formula?

  3. Mar says:

    Thank you very much.
    I really need this.

  4. Pankaj Chauhan says:

    Thanx a lot for this post. Useful one

  5. narayan says:

    Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control not appering...plz suggest

  6. morteza says:

    All those explanation was about excel 2010 and later
    do you have any idea about functioning date picker or register it on excel 2007?
    thanks in advance

  7. KALPANA says:

    I really like this post. very well explained and demonstrated. But i need some more help in Like if i have two columns (A And B) and both have calendar controls but entire A and B columns i need to enter live dates but only from A and B cell with calendar control..how can i do that.

    pl send me the details on my mail id.

    thanks and regards,


  8. Etse says:

    Thank you Thank you So much you just made my day!!!

  9. Rene says:

    This was a great help! I still have a few questions but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Thanks for the help.

  10. Mari says:

    Hi, I installed the date picker control as suggested and it worked beautifully. The problem was that I sent the worksheet to a fiend who did not have it installed and he could not see the calendars. Just for testing I deleted them in his computer and run some Macros that are in the same worksheet. While they continue to work in my computer the line Sheets("Details").Select comes with an error. "Details is the sheet where the calendars were linked to some cells so I suspect that it has to do with them. What do you think?

  11. Kelley says:

    I put in the dropdown calendar and linked the cell. As soon as I choose from the calendar, Excel reads the date in the linked cell as a text ("2/13/2017")instead of the date number Excel uses for formulas.

    Can you help?

  12. Kendrick Terry says:

    I am building a spreadsheet for a client and I'd like to use this date picker. Will the client need to download anything to their office/excel in order to use as well?

  13. Chamila Karunarathne says:

    please tell me how to add a date search box/bar to a excel document.

  14. Jeff says:

    This is great, but I have one problem. How do I get it to open to today's date by default? Currently it is always opening to January.

  15. Jubin Thoppil says:


    Thank you Very much its working !!

    Jubin Thoppil

  16. nitfeu says:

    Really useful post. I downloaded the third-party software, Excel Date Picker and it suits my need perfectly.

  17. Amit says:

    How to get a drop down list in FORM?

  18. Jay says:

    I would like to find out if a client attended his/her appointment. So I'd like to add a yes/no button. If the yes button is pushed, I'd like to pick the date the client attended from my drop down calendar and have it populate the Appointment cell (B3) . If no is pushed, I would like the calendar to appear in the followup cell (O3), where a new date is selected but the color is red. This way we will know to also call this patient.

    Thank you for your help.


  19. Chandra says:

    This is good one, I wanted to know if I can get the time option too in the calendar to mention. At this point of time I know see the date. Please help

  20. Renji says:

    I have an excel file with 3 sheets. The second sheet is used to keep some reference data for the first sheet.
    In the first sheet I have columns from A to AM and around 4000 rows also with it.
    I want to add BUTTONS to column AM in each row to lock each row after I add something to the cells.
    e.g. I started adding with A1 till AL; now I want to lock these cells in Row A using the BUTTON in AM so that the cells content cannot be edited unless I put password for UNPROTECT SHEET. (please keep in mind that I already have some data validations and conditional formats done with all the cells, and also a macro for blocking CUT-COPY-PASTE to and fro the sheet.) So I would prefer the password for PROTECT my current settings and the one new for the BUTTON option to be different.

    Can you help me?

  21. Jillian says:

    Hello.. Is there a way for the date box to appear blank until you click on it and then have the calendar pop up instead of having the date auto populate?

  22. Alan says:

    "Easy" does not describe the last three hours of fruitless labour.

    I have an expense spreadsheet that needs a pop-up calendar to choose a date for each line of expenses entered. Third-party is not an option, as it would require installing extra software on multiple off-site laptops.

    The internal Excel process you describe does not allow for applying over a range of cells - each cell has to be configured separately. The 'cell content plus twisty' graphic is just that - a graphic. Clicking on it does nothing. The content can only be changed via a drop-down at the top-left of the sheet, and even then the process is fraught with errors. (I wish I could post a pic of what I'm talking about).

    One would think that allowing for a calendar as one of the Data Validation drop-downs should be a standard no-brainer feature.

    • C.R. says:

      I think I might haver encountered the same thing as you, Alan. When I got the calendar graphic in the upper left hand corner of the spreadsheet, I then de-selected Design Mode - that made the upper left graphic disappear, but allowed me to resize and move the graphic of tha calendar near the cell I clicked on to the cell I wanted and it worked. Problem is - I want to copy this calendar drop/select into a range of cells and I cannot seem to do that I have to create a calendar / drop for each individual cell. For what it is worth....

  23. Amanda D says:

    I have inserted the Date Picker successfully but need to formulate based on the date picked to show the 'due date' in the next column (30 days from date picked). Is this possible? Thanks!

  24. Excelsius says:


    I wish to for the cell with the DatePicker to remain blank as default before the drop-down calendar is selected. How would I go about this please? Any assistance appreciated.


  25. Sterling Hamilton says:

    Hi there,

    I have followed the instructions to a t and unfortunately I continue to get the following error message:

    The Module failed to load and the specified module could not be found. However, when I open the folder I can see the file there and it appears fine.

    Even when I load Excel and click on the Register Custom... the file does not show up in the System32 folder.



  26. Rob says:

    I have set up a calendar picker and referenced the cell in the properties so that when I select a date in the dropdown calendar, that date immediately appears in a linked cell. However, my calculation will not update until I click on the cell and then on the formula bar. Updates are set to automatic. I am baffled, I have checkd all the settings on the dates format etc.

  27. Vanessa Hess says:

    Is there a 64-bit option?

  28. Mohammed says:


    thanks for this topic, it really helped me, however, i installed the add-on and when i send the file to my partners, they were not able to use it as they need the add-on, not all of them are having 32 bit, is there any third party tool that can be embedded within the excel file not the excel application?

  29. Alejandro Vargas says:

    Muy buen consejo, agradezco mucho su apoyo. Solucionó un gran problema que tenía.

  30. Louis says:

    Hi Svetlana
    Thank you very much! I opted for the Date Picker and it works wonderfully. However, your instructions are so thorougfh and clear I could use any of these date options. Thanks!

  31. Alireza says:


    I was wondering if you'd guide me how to freeze two different rows in excel (like row no.3 and row no.10)! Is that even possible?


Post a comment

Unfortunately, due to the volume of comments received we cannot guarantee that we will be able to give you a timely response. When posting a question, please be very clear and concise. We thank you for understanding!
Excel add-ins and Outlook tools - Ablebits.com
Ultimate Suite for Excel Professionals
60+ professional tools for Excel 2016-2007 to do your daily work
Incredible product, even better tech support…AbleBits totally delivers!
Deborah Bryant
Anyone who works with Excel is sure to find their work made easier
Jackie Lee
The best spent money on software I've ever spent!
Patrick Raugh
Ablebits is a fantastic product - easy to use and so efficient.
Debra Celmer
Excel is at its best now
Annie C.
I don't know how to thank you enough for your Excel add-ins
Jennifer Morningstar
Anybody who experiences it, is bound to love it!
Kumar Nepa
AbleBits suite has really helped me when I was in a crunch!
Nelda Fink
I have enjoyed every bit of it and time am using it
Christian Onyekachi Nwosu
It's the best $100 we've ever spent!
Mike Cavanagh
I love the program, and I can't imagine using Excel without it!
Robert Madsen
One word… WOW!
Dave Brown
Love the products!
David Johnston
It is like having an expert at my shoulder helping me…
Linda Shakespeare
Your software really helps make my job easier
Jeannie C.
Thanks for a terrific product that is worth every single cent!
Dianne Young
I love your product
Brad Gibson
Sheila Blanchard