As you work in Microsoft Excel, you’ll find yourself using all types of data. Sometimes, this will include dates. Excel offers a plethora of options to format, display, and work with dates. These will vary depending on the needs of your project. But they share ease of use. Let’s learn how to format dates in Microsoft Excel.
How to Format Dates in Excel
By default, Excel sets cells to the General format. This is a flexible option that works well for many types of data. But if you’re working with a date, it’s beneficial to format the cell as a Date. This gives you an array of options for handling details like weeks, months, days, and more.
To get started, click into any empty cell in your workbook. Let’s imagine that you want to type a simple date: December 17, 2021, for example. In the cell, input:
Then, hit Enter on your keyboard. Excel will input the date, and automatically recognize it as such. Notice in the Cell Format dropdown on the Home tab that the cell format has changed to Date.
This, however, is only the beginning of your options. To explore more date formats, click on the Cell Format dropdown. From the list, choose More Number Formats.
Excel will launch the Format Cells menu, showing the Date category. From the Type list, you can see that you have many choices. You can choose from long dates, short dates, and even dates spelled out with the day of the week included.
Plus, you can change the order and level of detail. For example, you can list the year first instead of last, or omit it completely. Choose your favorite date format, then click OK to apply it to your cell.
As you can see, Microsoft Excel makes it easy to format dates to fit your exact specifications and the needs of your project.