How to Only Display the Year for a Date in Excel: 2024 Guide

Got a list of dates in your Excel spreadsheet and only want to show the year? It’s easier than you think! Just a few clicks and you can change the date format to display only the year – no day or month. After you’ve set it up, every date you enter will automatically show just the year. Handy, right?

Step by Step Tutorial: Displaying Only the Year in Excel

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a clear picture of what we’re going to do. By the end of these steps, you’ll be able to take any cell with a date in it and reformat it so that only the year is shown.

Step 1: Select the Cells with Dates

Click on the cell or range of cells that contain the dates you want to reformat.

Selecting the correct cells is crucial because whatever changes you make will only apply to the cells you’ve highlighted. If you’ve got a whole column of dates, clicking the column header is a quick way to select them all.

Step 2: Open Format Cells Dialog

Right-click on the selected cells and choose ‘Format Cells,’ or press Ctrl + 1 on your keyboard.

The Format Cells dialog is where all the magic happens. It’s a toolbox for changing how your data looks, including date formats.

Step 3: Go to the Number Tab

In the Format Cells dialog, click on the ‘Number’ tab.

The Number tab is where you’ll find all sorts of formatting options for numbers, currency, dates, times, and more.

Step 4: Select ‘Custom’ from Category List

Scroll down in the category list and select ‘Custom.’

The Custom option is where Excel lets you create your own data format – it’s very powerful and perfect for our needs.

Step 5: Enter ‘yyyy’ into Type Field

Delete any existing codes in the Type field and type in ‘yyyy’, then click ‘OK.’

The ‘yyyy’ code tells Excel to display only the year part of your dates. When you click ‘OK’, Excel will reformat the dates for you.

After completing these steps, every date in the selected cells will now show only the year. This applies not only to the dates that are already in the cells, but also to any new dates you add later on.

Tips for Displaying Only the Year in Excel

  • Make sure your cells are actually formatted as dates before trying to change the date format.
  • If you want to show the year and the month, use ‘yyyy-mm’ in the Type field instead.
  • Remember that this change only affects how the dates look – the full date is still there and can be used in calculations.
  • Use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) if you make a mistake.
  • If you’re working with historical data, make sure Excel is interpreting the dates correctly – especially if you’re entering years before 1900.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I revert back to the original date format?

Simply go back into the Format Cells dialog and choose a different date format from the list.

Can I show just the month or day instead?

Yes! Use ‘mm’ for just the month, and ‘dd’ for just the day in the Type field.

Will this affect my ability to calculate ages or durations from these dates?

No, it won’t. Excel still knows the full date; it’s just displaying the year.

Can I apply this to an entire column?

Absolutely, just select the entire column by clicking its header, then follow the steps.

What if the year doesn’t show up after I follow these steps?

Double-check that you entered ‘yyyy’ correctly and that your cells are formatted as dates.


  1. Select the cells with dates.
  2. Open Format Cells dialog.
  3. Go to the Number tab.
  4. Select ‘Custom’ from category list.
  5. Enter ‘yyyy’ into Type field.


There you have it! A straightforward guide on how to display only the year for a date in Excel. Whether you’re tidying up a report, creating a timeline, or analyzing yearly data trends, being able to isolate the year from a date can be tremendously helpful. Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and mastering these small tricks can save you a lot of time and improve the quality of your work. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your date data transform into clear, year-only entries. And, as always, happy spreadsheeting!

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