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, 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.

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 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 and higher 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.

Once the mscomct2.exe 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 are the only working solution. Below you will find a few calendars that work with both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, and lower. It would be only natural if we start with our own calendar :)

Ablebits Date Picker for Excel

The users of the Ultimate Suite can find their Excel drop-down calendar on the Ablebits tab in the Date & Time group. The Date Picker is turned off by default, to turn it on, just click this button: Ablebits Date Picker for Excel

Once the Date Picker is activated, a small calendar button appears on the sheet when you type or select a date in a cell. If necessary, you can change date format as usual and the calendar will supply dates in your custom format - a nice feature that Microsoft's Date and Time Picker control lacks. Additionally, the calendar shows how far away the selected date is from today's date. Also, it allows you to quickly get to today's date or switch between one-month and two-month views: Ablebits drop-down calendar for Excel

Moreover, you can also calculate dates right in the calendar! For this, select the target date in your worksheet or in the calendar, and click the Date Calculator button in the upper right corner. Then, click the desired unit on the upper pane and type how many years, months, weeks or days (or any combination of these units) you want to add to or subtract from the target date. After that, press the Enter key to insert the result into the currently selected cell or press F6 to display the calculated date in the calendar (or click one of the buttons shown in the image below).

As an example, let's add 1 year and 60 days to April 1, 2018: Calculate dates directly in your Excel calendar

If you don't have our Ultimate Suite in your Excel yet, you can download a trial version here, or you can go with one of the free drop-down calendars listed below.

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. 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 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!

98 comments

  1. thank you very much

  2. Thanks for the help.

  3. So what do we do if our company gives us computers with Office 365, 64 bit, and no Date Picker add-in, and we don't have administrative capabilities?

    • I'd like to know this too!

    • Facing the same problem due to no administrative access. It's company desktop

    • They have an option for a date picker that is free. "Excel Date Picker ". This will allow you to add the add-in with out administration access because it is essentially VBA code.

  4. hello
    thanks for your hepfull explantion.
    Your prcedure works well. I have applied it with success on 2 of my PC.
    For the 3rd one for unknown reason and applying the same method (without any error message) at the end in excel the module Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control 6.0 (SP6), is not available.
    i have applied like for the other PC the instruction
    C:\Windows\SysWoW64\regsvr32.exe mscomct2.ocx
    mscomct2.ocx is in the SysWoW64 folder.
    I have the message that DllRegisterserver in mscomct2.ocx succeded
    But the module is not available

    Microsoft® Excel® pour Microsoft 365 MSO (Version 2112 Build 16.0.14729.20254) 64 bits
    Win 10.

    Any idea where the problem comes from?
    thanks for your help.

  5. Hi everyone,

    Managed to create the date picker, however, when printing the active worksheet, it does show the selected date but distorted text.

    Looking forward to your replies.
    Thank you.

  6. Hi. I've been trying to make several cells have date pickers. however, I can only manage one. I tried copy and pasting one date picker, adjusting the linked cell - yet to no avail.
    Can help me out?

    • Hi!
      The information you provided is not enough to understand your case and give you any advice, sorry. Your question is not entirely clear, please specify.

  7. HOW TO PUT A DATE PICK CALENDAR IN EXCEL FOR PROJECT PURPOSE

  8. Great Resource. Thanks

  9. Nossa, MUITO obrigada!! Me ajudou DEMAIS!

  10. Wish you happy new year 2021

  11. Thanks a lot for this information

  12. My question is a repeat of Nelsons question below. Could someone please respond to this question below because I am also struggling to solve it.

    "The date picker is working fine, but when i fix it in a cell after doing all the essential formatting, save it and try reopening the same file the date picker is at the top left corner. I face this issue each and every time I re-open the file. Request you to kindly help me in solving this issue.."

    • I, too, ran across the "floating control" problem (upon reopening, the control appears at the upper left of the worksheet, over the "A" column header, and there is a nonworking image of the control where I actually intended it to be).

      I've search the interwebs for a long time looking for a solution, and all I have found is that works is if you freeze the top row (or any other freeze configuration that has rows in it), the problem goes away.

      If you can't or don't want to do that, all you have to do is scroll down and then back up, and the display repaints properly.

      Someone claimed that if you put some code into the Workbook_Open event, you can tweak the width (or maybe another property) of the control in a trivial way, and that will cause it to repaint and appear where it is supposed to. Downside of that is, you have to use an XLSM workbook if you aren't already, and it just seems like a VBA solution should not be necessary.

      • i had a spreadsheet where the calendar would pop up in the A1 area after selecting the calendar. i increased the size of the calendar box while in design mode just a little bit and then the calendar pops up where it should be.

  13. The date picker used to be included in previous versions and I am thinking it may have been 2007 when they took it out. I remember having to rework all my programs that used it. It was a complete pain. It is horrible that they would remove such a basic tool.

  14. It was help ful

  15. Excel Date picker box does not present in the excel sheets when excel opens in extended screen. Am i missing something? How can we have the date box present in the excel? possible?

  16. Thank you very much it's useful I got

  17. Hello
    Great post.
    I see that I have 64-bit Office installed, so I`M not seeing these controls.
    However, why is this not available for 64-bit excel? Does that make any logical sense?
    Also, if I install 32-bit excel, and get access to the data picker.

    What if I make a form with a date-picker, and one of the people using the form has 64 bit excel installed. Will it still work for them?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Hello,
    There is any way to do it with 64bit?
    Thank you,

  19. how i to do without mscomct2.ocx?

  20. The date picker works fine but in a different way, the date picker is the one changing once you change the linked cell to it. Did I miss anything because it works the other way around. Please help.

    • Hi Nats,

      In fact, it works both ways. When you select a date using the date picker, the linked cell changes; and vice versa - changing the linked cell changes the date picker.

  21. This really helped me but I have a slight problem. When I scroll up and down there is a bit of delay in display or should say unsmooth. Its almost seems like the form a dislocating but then jump back to there positions. Does anyone have any idea experience this or Im alone. What's the fix? Thanks

  22. I have been trying for a few days to figure out how to create my own printable daily calendar/planner. This article is a great help with the tools however I am still trying to figure out the best way to populate each day automatically. I have created a 1 day 2 page layout. I want to have the day of the week, and date-no year appear at the top of the first page in separate cells. Then have the next 30/31 worksheets pre-populate with the next day and date. I know there must be an easy way to do it but it alludes me. Please advise. Thanks!

  23. it does not let me run to execute, what comes?
    help me please :'(

  24. I have been searching for calendar control and finally i get solution from here, thank you so much for your detailed instruction. You are amazing!

  25. Great Solution.
    Been trying for weeks to sort this out. Thank you..

  26. Is it posible to add a drop down date picker on the 16.20 version for Mac?

  27. Need to create a formula for a garnishment of a 15% for Student Loan as follows: Gross pay less taxes (SS, SDI, SIT) = net disposal x 15% to obtain garnishment.

  28. I have a rule to fill cell B21 orange when the date in cell E22 is within 30 days of today: =E22<TODAY()+30 and this works perfect. however, now that I have figured out how to input this calendar, it does not work

    I have linked my calendar to cell E22 and the date populates, but the formula in cell B21 does not seem to register that a date has been put into cell E22.

    If I manually type the date in it does work though...

    PLEASE HELP!

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