How to Convert Text to Date in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever struggled with turning text into dates in Excel, you’re not alone. It’s a common issue, but fortunately, it’s also an easy one to resolve. This quick guide will walk you through the steps to transform any text into a date format in Excel.

How to Convert Text to Date in Excel

This tutorial will show you how to convert text that looks like a date into an actual date format in Excel. By the end, your data will be much easier to analyze and work with.

Step 1: Select the Cells

First, select the cells containing the text you want to convert.

Just click and drag your mouse over the cells or use the keyboard to highlight them. Make sure you’ve got all the relevant cells selected before moving on.

Step 2: Open the Text to Columns Wizard

Next, go to the ‘Data’ tab and click on ‘Text to Columns’.

This will open a wizard that will guide you through converting your text. It’s a powerful tool that can handle various data formatting tasks.

Step 3: Choose the Delimited Option

Choose the ‘Delimited’ option and click ‘Next’.

Delimited means the text is separated by a specific character like a comma or space. This option is usually the most straightforward.

Step 4: Select the Delimiter

Select the delimiter that separates your data, often this will be a space or a forward slash, and click ‘Next’.

This tells Excel how to break up the text into different parts. It’s essential for correctly formatting the date.

Step 5: Choose the Column Data Format

Select the ‘Date’ option and choose the format that matches your text (e.g., MDY for Month-Day-Year).

This ensures Excel knows exactly how to interpret your text as a date. Getting this right is crucial for accurate conversion.

Step 6: Finish and Check Your Work

Click ‘Finish’ and check your cells to ensure they are now in date format.

If everything went well, your text should now appear as dates. You can double-check by clicking on a cell and looking at the formula bar.

After following these steps, your text should be converted into readable and usable date formats in Excel. This will make your data easier to sort, filter, and analyze.

Tips for Converting Text to Date in Excel

  • Check the original text: Ensure your text has a consistent format before converting.
  • Use the DATEVALUE function: This can be an alternative for quick conversions.
  • Watch out for errors: If Excel can’t convert the text, it may leave errors in your cells.
  • Try different formats: Sometimes you might need to experiment with date formats to get the right one.
  • Use Text to Columns wisely: It can also help with other data formatting issues, not just dates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my text isn’t in a recognizable date format?

You may need to manually edit the text to a recognizable date format before converting.

Can I automate this process?

Yes, you can use Excel macros to automate the conversion of text to date.

What if the dates are in different formats?

You’ll need to standardize the format before conversion, or handle each format separately.

Why is my date showing as a number?

Excel dates are stored as serial numbers. Format the cell to display it as a date.

How do I handle international date formats?

Ensure you know the correct date format and select it during the conversion process.

Summary of Steps

  1. Select the cells
  2. Open the Text to Columns Wizard
  3. Choose the Delimited option
  4. Select the delimiter
  5. Choose the column data format
  6. Finish and check your work


Converting text to date in Excel might seem tricky, but it’s quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. Using the Text to Columns Wizard makes the process much easier and helps ensure your data is accurate. Remember to check your text for consistency and format issues before converting. If you run into problems, the DATEVALUE function or even some simple manual adjustments can often save the day.

Whether you’re dealing with spreadsheets at work, school, or just keeping your personal data organized, mastering this skill is incredibly useful. Take a moment to practice these steps on your own data. You’ll soon find that converting text to date in Excel is a breeze!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy