How to Change Date Format in Excel Using Formula: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the date format in Excel using a formula is a straightforward task that can be accomplished with a few simple steps. By using the TEXT function, you can easily customize how dates are displayed in your spreadsheets. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring you can change date formats with ease.

How to Change Date Format in Excel Using Formula

In this tutorial, we will use the TEXT function to modify the date format in Excel. The steps will show you how to convert dates into various formats, such as "MM/DD/YYYY" or "DD-MMM-YYYY".

Step 1: Open Your Excel Workbook

First, open your Excel workbook and navigate to the sheet containing the dates you want to format.

This step is simply about accessing your file. Ensure you have the correct workbook open to avoid making changes to the wrong data.

Step 2: Select the Cell Where You Want the New Date Format

Select an empty cell where you want the newly formatted date to appear.

Choosing a new cell ensures you don’t overwrite the original data, which can be useful for comparison or if mistakes need correcting.

Step 3: Enter the TEXT Function

Type =TEXT( in the selected cell.

This function is the key to formatting your date. Opening the function prepares Excel to accept the date and format parameters.

Step 4: Reference the Original Date Cell

After typing =TEXT(, click on the cell containing the original date to reference it.

Clicking on the original date cell automatically inserts its reference in the TEXT function, making it clear which date you’re formatting.

Step 5: Specify the Desired Date Format

After referencing the original date cell, type ,"MM/DD/YYYY") or your chosen format and press Enter.

The format you specify inside the quotes will determine how the date is displayed. Formats like "MM/DD/YYYY" or "DD-MMM-YYYY" are common choices.

After completing these steps, the selected cell will display the date in the new format you specified. You can now copy this formula to other cells if you have more dates to format.

Tips for Changing Date Format in Excel Using Formula

  1. Use Different Formats: Experiment with various date formats like "YYYY-MM-DD" or "DD-MMM-YY" to see which suits your needs best.
  2. Keep Original Data: Always keep the original dates intact in case you need to revert changes or compare different formats.
  3. Check Cell Content: Ensure the cells you are referencing contain valid dates; otherwise, the TEXT function may return errors.
  4. Use Custom Formats: For unique requirements, create custom date formats using Excel’s format codes.
  5. Apply Consistently: If you’re working on a shared document, apply the same formatting rules uniformly to maintain consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I receive a #VALUE! error?

This error usually occurs if the cell you’re referencing doesn’t contain a valid date. Double-check the cell content to ensure it’s formatted as a date.

Can I use the TEXT function for other types of data?

Yes, the TEXT function can also format numbers, currency, and more. Just adjust the format code accordingly.

How do I copy the new format to multiple cells?

You can drag the fill handle (a small square at the bottom-right of the cell) to copy the formula to adjacent cells.

Is there a shortcut for the TEXT function?

Unfortunately, there’s no direct shortcut. You’ll need to type out =TEXT( each time you use the function.

Can I revert the changes if needed?

Yes, since the formula doesn’t alter the original data, you can simply delete the formula or change the cell reference back to the original format.


  1. Open Your Excel Workbook
  2. Select the Cell Where You Want the New Date Format
  3. Enter the TEXT Function
  4. Reference the Original Date Cell
  5. Specify the Desired Date Format


Changing the date format in Excel using a formula is a simple yet powerful tool to make your data more readable and customized to your needs. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily transform how dates are displayed in your spreadsheets. This skill is particularly handy for professionals who frequently work with date data, ensuring clarity and consistency in reports and analysis.

If you found this guide helpful, consider exploring other Excel functions like CONCATENATE for text, or look into conditional formatting to enhance your data presentations. The more you learn about Excel, the more efficient and effective you’ll become in handling data. Happy formatting!

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