How to Change Date Format in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Users

How to Change Date Format in Excel

Changing the date format in Excel is a breeze once you know the steps. In a nutshell, you’ll need to select the cells containing the dates, open the Format Cells dialog box, and pick the date format you prefer. After that, simply apply your changes, and voilĂ ! Your dates will be displayed just the way you want them.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Change Date Format in Excel

In this section, I’ll guide you through the process of changing the date format in Excel. Follow these steps to transform your date presentation effortlessly.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

First, open the Excel spreadsheet where the dates you want to change are located.

Make sure you have the correct file open, or you won’t be able to proceed with changing the date format.

Step 2: Select the Cells with Dates

Next, highlight the cells that contain the dates you want to reformat.

You can do this by clicking and dragging over the cells or by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking each cell individually.

Step 3: Right-Click and Choose "Format Cells"

Once you have your cells selected, right-click on the highlighted area and choose "Format Cells" from the context menu.

This action will open the Format Cells dialog box, where you can adjust a variety of settings, including the date format.

Step 4: Navigate to the "Number" Tab

In the Format Cells dialog box, click on the "Number" tab at the top.

This tab contains all the number formatting options available in Excel, including formats for dates.

Step 5: Select "Date" from the Category List

On the left side of the Format Cells dialog box, select "Date" from the list of categories.

This option will display a variety of date formats you can choose from.

Step 6: Choose Your Preferred Date Format

From the list of date formats, pick the one that suits your needs.

You will see sample formats like "12/31/2023" or "31-Dec-23". Select the one you prefer, and click "OK".

Step 7: Apply and Confirm Your Changes

After selecting your desired format, click "OK" to apply the changes.

Your selected cells will now display the dates in the new format you chose.

Once you complete these steps, your dates will be displayed in your chosen format, making them easier to read and understand.

Tips for Changing Date Format in Excel

  • Make sure to double-check your selected cells before applying the new format to avoid unintended changes.
  • Use custom date formats by selecting "Custom" under the Category list if none of the predefined options fit your needs.
  • If your dates aren’t changing formats, they might be stored as text. Convert them to date values first.
  • Use the Format Painter tool to quickly copy the new date format to other cells.
  • Always save your work before making bulk changes to avoid losing any data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply different date formats to different cells?

Yes, you can apply different date formats to different cells by selecting each group of cells and following the steps individually for each format.

Why aren’t my dates changing formats?

Your dates might be stored as text. Convert them to date values by using the "Text to Columns" feature or by adding zero to each cell.

Can I create a custom date format?

Yes, in the Format Cells dialog box, select "Custom" and enter your desired date format using symbols like "dd-mm-yyyy".

Will changing the date format affect data sorting?

No, changing the date format won’t affect how Excel sorts your data. Sorting is based on the underlying date value, not its display format.

How do I revert to the original date format?

Simply follow the same steps and select the original format or use the "Undo" function if you haven’t saved your changes yet.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cells with dates.
  3. Right-click and choose "Format Cells."
  4. Navigate to the "Number" tab.
  5. Select "Date" from the category list.
  6. Choose your preferred date format.
  7. Apply and confirm your changes.


Changing the date format in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to make your data more readable and organized. Whether you’re working on a financial report, a project timeline, or just keeping track of important dates, being able to customize how dates are displayed can save you a lot of time and confusion.

If you’re frequently working with dates, consider exploring more advanced features and formats to get the most out of Excel. And remember, practice makes perfect. The more you familiarize yourself with Excel’s formatting options, the more efficiently you’ll work.

So, go ahead and try changing the date format in your next Excel project. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner and more professional your spreadsheets will look. Happy formatting!

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