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How to Change Date Format in Excel: A Beginner's Guide

How to Change Date Format in Excel: A Beginner's Guide

Welcome to this beginner's guide on changing date format in Excel with Formularizer Team! Whether you're a spreadsheet newbie or an Excel enthusiast, get used to date formatting will add that extra sparkle to your data.

In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the steps to change date format in Excel, so you can present your dates exactly the way you want. So, let's dive right in and see how it's done!

Step 1: Selecting the Cells Containing Dates

The first step is to select the cells that contain the dates you want to format. Follow these simple instructions:

Click and drag your mouse cursor to select the cells that contain the dates. You can select a single cell, a range of cells, or even an entire column.

Selecting cells in Excel

Step 2: Changing Date Format in Excel

Now that you have your cells selected, let's explore how to change the date format in Excel. There are a few methods you can use:

Method 1: Using the Format Cells Dialog Box

  1. Right-click on the selected cells and choose "Format Cells" or "Number Format" from the context menu that appears. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+1 on your keyboard to open the Format Cells dialog box.

Right-clicking on selected cells in Excel

  1. In the Format Cells dialog box, you'll find various format categories, including "Date."

  2. Click on the "Date" category to reveal a list of available date formats. Excel provides a range of pre-defined formats for you to choose from.

  3. Browse through the available formats and select the one that suits your needs. As you hover over different formats, Excel will provide a preview of how your dates will appear.

Previewing date formats in Excel

  1. Once you've chosen the desired date format, click the "OK" button. Ta-da! Your dates will now appear in the newly selected format. How cool is that?

Date format result in Excel

Method 2: Using the Number Format Drop-down

  1. With the cells still selected, locate the "Number Format" drop-down menu in the Excel ribbon at the top of the screen.

  2. Click on the drop-down arrow to open the menu and select "Long Date".

  3. If you want to change to different formats, click "More Number Formats", a list of available date formats will be displayed. Simply click on the format you want to apply, and Excel will instantly change the date format of the selected cells.

Number format drop-down menu in Excel

  1. Take a moment to admire your newly formatted dates. You're on your way to becoming an Excel formatting pro!

Method 3: Using Custom Date Formats

If the pre-defined date formats don't quite meet your requirements, Excel allows you to create custom date formats using format codes. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Follow the steps for Method 1 to open the Format Cells dialog box.

  2. In the Format Cells dialog box, click on the "Custom" category.

  3. In the "Type" field, you can enter your custom date format using format codes. Don't worry; it's simpler than it sounds! Here are a few examples to get you started:

    • dd/mm/yyyy for a format like 01/01/2023
    • mmm dd, yyyy for a format like Jan 01, 2023
    • yyyy-mm-dd for a format like 2023-01-01
  4. Experiment with different format codes to achieve the desired result. Excel provides a list of format codes and their explanations in the "Type" field, or you can refer to the external resources in the "Additional Resources" section for more guidance.

  5. Once you've entered your custom date format, click "OK" to apply it to the selected cells.

Custom date format in Excel

Congratulations! You've now learned multiple methods to change the date format in Excel. But wait, there's more! Let's explore some tips and tricks to enhance your Excel date formatting skills.

Using Formularizer to Choose the Right Date Format

In Formularizer, you can find your desired date format by using the Task AI Assistant. Simply type in the date format you want, and Formularizer will suggest the right format code for you. Here's how:

  1. In your Formularizer Dashboard, choose Task from the left sidebar.

  2. Inside the Input Box, type in the date format you want. If you have an example date, you can also paste it in the Input Box. For example, I want to format my date as "January 01, 2023, 23:59".

  3. Click "Submit" and wait for the magic.

Formularizer Task AI Assistant get Date Format

That's it! Formularizer will suggest the right format code for you. You can copy the format code and use it in Excel.

Tips and Tricks for Excel Date Formatting

Tip 1: Copying Formatting Using Format Painter

If you have already formatted a cell or a range of cells with a date format and want to apply the same format elsewhere, you can use the Format Painter feature. Here's how:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells with the desired date format.

  2. Click on the "Format Painter" button in the Excel ribbon.

  3. Now, click and drag over the cells where you want to apply the same date format. Excel will instantly copy the formatting from the source cells to the destination cells.

Tip 2: Applying Additional Formatting Options

You can further enhance the appearance of your dates by applying additional formatting options. For example:

  • Make the dates bold, italic, or underlined for emphasis.
  • Change the font color or cell background color to make the dates stand out.
  • Adjust the font size or font style to match your overall spreadsheet design.

Feel free to experiment and get creative with formatting to make your dates visually appealing and easy to read.

Tip 3: Handling Different Date Formats and Regional Settings

Excel provides flexibility in handling different date formats and regional settings. If you're working with dates in various formats or dealing with regional settings, consider the following:

  • Ensure your Excel settings are aligned with the date formats you're working with.
  • Adjust the regional settings in Excel to match the date formats used in your data.
  • Use the DATEVALUE function to convert text dates to proper Excel date format, if necessary.

By understanding and adjusting these settings, you can overcome any challenges posed by different date formats and regional variations.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While changing date formats in Excel is usually straightforward, you may encounter a few hiccups along the way. Here are some common issues and their solutions:

Issue 1: Incorrect Date Format Display

If you're not seeing the desired date format after applying the formatting, check the following:

  • Ensure that the cells containing dates are formatted as dates and not as text or general cells.
  • Confirm that the chosen date format aligns with the format you want to display.

Issue 2: Errors in Converted Dates

When converting dates from one format to another, you may come across errors or unexpected results. Here's how to tackle them:

  • Check that the original dates are entered correctly and in a recognized date format.
  • Verify that the chosen date format in Excel matches the source format you're converting from.
  • Consider using Excel functions like DATE, DAY, MONTH, and YEAR to manipulate and extract specific date components if needed.

By troubleshooting these common issues, you'll become adept at handling any date formatting challenges that come your way.


Congratulations! You've successfully learned how to change date format in Excel. You now have the knowledge and tools to present your dates in various formats, thanks to the Format Cells dialog box, the Number Format drop-down, and even custom date formats. Remember to experiment, practice, and have fun with date formatting in Excel. The more you explore, the more proficient you'll become.

So go ahead, put your newfound skills into action, and create beautifully formatted spreadsheets that impress your colleagues and clients. Happy formatting!

Additional Resources

To expand your knowledge and delve deeper into Excel date formatting, check out the following resources:

Happy learning and formatting!


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