How to Use a Different Date Format in Google Sheets for Beginners

Changing the date format in Google Sheets is a handy skill to have, especially if you’re dealing with data from different parts of the world. In just a few clicks, you can switch between the American format (MM/DD/YYYY), the European style (DD/MM/YYYY), or any custom format you prefer. Here’s how to do it.

Step by Step Tutorial to Change Date Format in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. By changing the date format, we can ensure that our data is understood correctly by everyone, regardless of where they’re from. It also makes the data look more consistent and professional.

Step 1: Select the cells with dates

Click and drag to select the cells that contain the dates you want to change.

Selecting the correct cells is crucial because any formatting changes will only apply to the cells you’ve chosen. Make sure not to select any cells that don’t contain date data.

Step 2: Open the ‘Format’ menu

Go to the menu at the top of the page and click on ‘Format’, then select ‘Number’.

The ‘Format’ menu is where all the magic happens. Here, you can not only change the date format but also adjust other number formats, such as currency or percentages.

Step 3: Choose your new date format

Scroll down and select your preferred date format from the list provided, or click on ‘Custom date and time’ to create your own.

There are plenty of default options to choose from, but if you need something specific, the custom option is very flexible. You can include the day of the week, use different separators, or even display the year in two digits.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your selected cells will now display dates in the new format you’ve chosen. This will make your data easier to understand for international colleagues and clients.

Tips for Using Different Date Formats in Google Sheets

  • Remember that changing the date format doesn’t change the data itself, just how it’s displayed.
  • If you’re working with a team, make sure everyone agrees on a date format to maintain consistency.
  • Double-check your data after changing the format to ensure that it’s still accurate.
  • Use the custom date format option for maximum flexibility.
  • Keep in mind that some functions and formulas in Google Sheets might be affected by how the date is formatted.

Frequently Asked Questions about Date Formats in Google Sheets

How do I revert back to the original date format?

If you want to go back to the original format, just repeat the steps and select the previous format from the list.

Can I apply different date formats to different cells in the same sheet?

Absolutely! Just select the cells you want to format differently and follow the steps for each selection.

Why is my date being displayed as a number?

If your date is showing up as a number, it’s likely because it’s formatted as a ‘Plain text’ or ‘Number’. Change the format to one of the date options to fix this.

Will changing the date format affect my formulas?

It could, depending on the formula. It’s always a good idea to check your formulas after changing the date format.

Can I create a date format with the day of the week included?

Yes, by using the ‘Custom date and time’ option, you can include the day of the week in your format.

Summary of Steps to Use a Different Date Format in Google Sheets

  1. Select the cells with dates.
  2. Open the ‘Format’ menu.
  3. Choose your new date format.


Mastering the art of changing date formats in Google Sheets can save you from a world of confusion and miscommunication. Whether you’re preparing a report for an international audience or just trying to keep your data organized, knowing how to switch up the date format is a skill that will serve you well. With the simple steps outlined above, you can transform your data to suit any regional preference.

And let’s not forget the customization possibilities! With Google Sheets, you’re never stuck with the standard; you can create a date format that fits your specific needs, be it including the day of the week or using unconventional separators. Just play around with the ‘Custom date and time’ option and watch your data come alive in a whole new way.

So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your data becomes more accessible and understandable to everyone. And who knows? With this new trick up your sleeve, you might just become the go-to Google Sheets wizard in your office.

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