How to Change Date Format in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

Date Format

Understanding Date Formats in Excel

Before we delve into the specifics of changing date formats, let’s take a moment to understand how Excel handles dates. In Excel, dates are stored as serial numbers, with January 1, 1900, as the starting point (serial number 1). Excel then increments the serial number by one for each subsequent day. This underlying system allows Excel to perform calculations and manipulate dates effectively.

Changing Date Formats using Format Cells

To change the date format in Excel, you can use the Format Cells feature. Here’s how:

  • Select the cells containing the dates you want to format.
  • Right-click and choose “Format Cells” from the context menu.
  • In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the “Number” tab.
  • Select “Date” from the Category list.
  • Choose the desired date format from the available options.
  • Click “OK” to apply the new format.

By following these steps, you can quickly change the date format of your data in Excel.

Converting Date Formats with Text Functions

Excel provides various text functions that allow you to convert dates to different formats. The most commonly used text functions for date conversion are:

  • TEXT: Converts a date to text using a specified format.
  • DAY: Extracts the day from a date.
  • MONTH: Extracts the month from a date.
  • YEAR: Extracts the year from a date.

Let’s say you have a date in cell A1 and you want to convert it to the format “dd-mm-yyyy”. You can use the TEXT function as follows:

=TEXT(A1, “dd-mm-yyyy”)

This formula will return the date in the desired format.

Applying Custom Date Formats

Excel allows you to create custom date formats tailored to your specific needs. With custom date formats, you have full control over how the dates are displayed. To apply a custom date format:

  • Select the cells containing the dates you want to format.
  • Right-click and choose “Format Cells” from the context menu.
  • In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the “Number” tab.
  • Select “Custom” from the Category list.

In the “Type” field, enter the desired custom date format. You can use a combination of predefined date format codes and specific characters to create your custom format. For example, “mm/dd/yyyy” will display the date as month/day/year.

Adjusting Regional Date Settings

Excel’s default date format is based on your regional settings. However, you can manually adjust the regional settings to change the default date format for your workbook. Here’s how:

  • Click on the “File” tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Select “Options” from the menu.
  • Arter Clicking Options dialog box, navigate to the “Advanced”.
  • Scroll down to the “When calculating workbook” section.
  • Uncheck the “Use the system separator” checkbox.
  • In the “Date:” section, enter your date format.
  • After Entering the date formate Click “OK” to make save changes.

By adjusting the regional date settings, you can ensure that Excel displays dates in the format you prefer, regardless of your system’s default settings. To learn best you cal also choose excel courses.

Using Excel’s Date Functions

Excel provides a wide range of date functions that can be used to perform calculations, manipulate dates, and extract specific information. Here are some commonly used date functions in Excel:

  • TODAY: Returns the current date.
  • DATE: Creates a date based on the provided year, month, and day.
  • EOMONTH: Returns the last day of the month for a given date.
  • NETWORKDAYS: Calculates the number of working days between two dates, excluding weekends and specified holidays.
  • DATEDIF: Calculates the difference between two dates in various units (years, months, days).

By utilizing these date functions, you can perform complex calculations and analysis involving dates in Excel.

Troubleshooting Date Formatting Issues

Sometimes, you may encounter issues with date formatting in Excel. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you resolve common problems:

Check the cell format: Ensure that the cell containing the date is formatted as a date, not as text or a general number.
Verify the date system: Excel supports two date systems, the 1900 date system and the 1904 date system. Make sure you are using the correct date system for your dates.

Check the regional settings: If the dates are not displaying in the desired format, verify the regional settings in Excel and adjust them accordingly.

Use the DATEVALUE function: If Excel is not recognizing your dates correctly, you can use the DATEVALUE function to convert text representations of dates into valid Excel dates.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can overcome common date formatting issues in Excel.

About The Author

Knowledge Glow

I am Komal Gupta, the founder of Knowledge Glow, and my team and I aim to fuel dreams and help the readers achieve success. While you prepare for your competitive exams, we will be right here to assist you in improving your general knowledge and gaining maximum numbers from objective questions. We started this website in 2021 to help students prepare for upcoming competitive exams. Whether you are preparing for civil services or any other exam, our resources will be valuable in the process.

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