How to Change Date Format in Excel: A Guide for Non-Techies

Listen, I'm no tech genius. In fact, I'm still getting used to my smartphone. But Excel, that's my jam. I love getting knee-deep in spreadsheets and crunching numbers. But sometimes, the little things can be a pain. Like date formats. Anyone who's been here knows what I'm talking about. When you're inputting a date into Excel, it has a funny way of formatting it for you. Don't worry though; I've got you covered. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to change date format in Excel.

What is Date Format in Excel?

Let's start with the basics. Excel is programmed to recognize different types of data. It's pretty smart that way. But sometimes, the way it formats that data can be a hassle. Specifically, when inputting dates, Excel often formats them in a way that doesn't look how we want it to.

For example, if you type "03/01/2022", it might show up as "March 1, 2022" in Excel. It's all well and good, but sometimes you might want it to show up differently. That's where changing the date format comes in handy.

Step by Step: How to Change Date Format in Excel

Don't worry; it's not as complicated as it might seem. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1

First, open Excel and select the cell or cells that you want to change the date format on. You can select multiple cells by holding down the "Ctrl" key.

Step 2

Next, go to the "Home" tab and click on the "Number Format" dropdown menu.

Step 3

Scroll down to "More Number Formats" at the bottom of the dropdown menu and click on it.

Step 4

A new window will open up. In this window, choose "Custom" from the list on the left-hand side.

Step 5

Now you can get into the nitty-gritty of the date format. Excel has a lot of options to choose from. Some popular ones include:

  • dd/mm/yyyy: This will format the date as day/month/year.
  • mm/dd/yyyy: This will format the date as month/day/year.
  • mmmm d, yyyy: This will format the date as month name day, year (e.g. January 1, 2022).
  • d mmmm yyyy: This will format the date as day month name year (e.g. 1 January 2022).

But don't feel limited to just those. You can get as creative as you want with the date format. If you want to know all the codes and what they mean, Excel has a handy reference page you can check out. Just click on the question mark icon next to "Type" in the "Custom" window.

Step 6

Once you've chosen your date format, click "OK" and your cells will be magically transformed.

Keep Your Formatting

One thing to keep in mind is that once you've changed the date format, you might have to be careful when pasting into other cells. If you just copy and paste the cell, Excel might try to format it differently. If you want to make sure the formatting sticks, use "Paste Special" instead.

Take Control of Your Dates

Taking control of your data is an important part of any project. If you need your dates to be formatted a specific way, don't let Excel tell you what to do. With this guide in hand, you'll be the one in charge. It might seem like a small thing, but it can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.

And that's how to change date format in Excel. Easy, right? I hope this guide was helpful and that you're now feeling a bit more confident in your Excel skills. Now get out there and start crunching those numbers!

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