How to Change Date in Excel: Exploring Various Methods

  • Home
  • / How to Change Date in Excel: Exploring Various Methods

Excel is a powerful spreadsheet software that is widely used for managing and analyzing data. Dates are a common data type in Excel, and you may often find yourself needing to change or manipulate dates for various purposes.

Whether you want to reformat dates, adjust them, or perform calculations involving dates, Excel provides several methods to help you achieve your desired results. In this article, we will explore various methods of how to change dates in Excel and address common questions related to date manipulation within this versatile software.

Why Would You Need to Change Dates in Excel?

Before delving into the methods for changing dates in Excel, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this common task. Dates in Excel can come from various sources and might need adjustments for several reasons:

  1. Data Import: When you import data into Excel from external sources, the date format may not match your desired format, or the data might not be in the correct date column.
  2. Formatting: You may want to change the way dates are displayed in your Excel spreadsheet, making them more readable or adhering to a specific format.
  3. Calculation: Excel allows you to perform various date calculations, such as finding the difference between two dates, adding or subtracting days, months, or years, or determining the day of the week for a particular date.
  4. Data Cleanup: Inconsistent date formats, errors, or missing values may require adjustments to ensure data consistency and accuracy.

Now, let’s explore the various methods for changing dates in Excel to address these common needs.

Method 1: Changing Date Format

One of the most basic ways to change dates in Excel is by altering their format. This method doesn’t change the underlying date value but merely how it appears in the cell. To change the date format:

  1. Select the cell or range containing the date you want to change.
  2. Go to the “Home” tab on the Excel ribbon.
  3. In the “Number” group, click the drop-down menu next to the number format box. By default, it’s usually set to “General.”
  4. From the list of available date formats, choose the one that suits your needs. You can also click on “More Number Formats” for additional customization options.
  5. Click “OK” to apply the chosen date format to the selected cells.

This method is useful for making dates more readable or converting them into different date formats, such as changing from “MM/DD/YYYY” to “DD/MM/YYYY” or “YYYY-MM-DD.”

Method 2: Adjusting Dates Using Formulas

Excel provides powerful date functions that allow you to manipulate dates. This method is especially useful when you need to perform calculations involving dates or make specific adjustments.

Common date functions include:

  • =TODAY(): Returns the current date.
  • =NOW(): Returns the current date and time.
  • =DATE(): Creates a date by specifying year, month, and day.
  • =EDATE(): Adds or subtracts a specified number of months to a date.
  • =EOMONTH(): Returns the last day of the month, a specified number of months before or after a given date.
  • =DATEDIF(): Calculates the difference between two dates in various units, such as days, months, or years.

For example, if you have a list of birthdates and want to calculate the age of individuals, you can use the following formula:


In this formula, “A2” represents the cell containing the birthdate. It calculates the difference in years, considering whether the birthday for the current year has already occurred.

Method 3: Using Text Functions                                                       

Sometimes, dates in Excel are stored as text, and you may need to change them into actual date values. Excel provides various text functions for this purpose.

  • =DATEVALUE(): Converts a date in text format to a serial number representing a date.
  • =TEXT(): Converts a date value into text with a specified format.
  • =LEFT() and =RIGHT(): These functions allow you to extract specific portions of a date in text format.

For instance, if you have a date in the format “DD/MM/YYYY” and you want to convert it to a standard date value, you can use the following formula:


This formula takes a date in text format and converts it to a standard date format that Excel can work with.

Method 4: Sorting and Filtering Dates

Changing dates in Excel doesn’t always involve formatting or calculations. Sometimes, you may want to sort or filter your data by date. Excel makes it easy to organize your data based on date values.

To sort dates in ascending or descending order:

  1. Select the column with date values.
  2. Go to the “Data” tab on the Excel ribbon.
  3. Click the “Sort A to Z” or “Sort Z to A” button in the “Sort & Filter” group, depending on your preferred order.

To filter data by date:

  1. Select the column with date values.
  2. Go to the “Data” tab on the Excel ribbon.
  3. Click the “Filter” button in the “Sort & Filter” group. This adds filter arrows to the column header.
  4. Click the filter arrow for the date column and select the desired filtering criteria.

This method allows you to quickly organize your data based on date values without changing the date format or value itself.

Method 5: Data Validation for Dates

To ensure data consistency, you can use data validation to restrict the input of dates to a specific format or within a certain date range. This method is particularly useful when you want to prevent errors or enforce uniformity in your date entries.

To set up data validation for dates:

  1. Select the cell or range where you want to input dates.
  2. Go to the “Data” tab on the Excel ribbon.
  3. Click “Data Validation” in the “Data Tools” group.
  4. In the “Data Validation” dialog box, under the “Settings” tab, choose “Date” as the allowed data type.
  5. Specify the date criteria, such as the start and end date, or select a date format.
  6. Click “OK” to apply the data validation rules to the selected cells.

This method ensures that the dates entered into the specified cells adhere to the specified rules, reducing the risk of data entry errors.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, Excel provides multiple methods to change and manipulate dates, from simple formatting adjustments to more complex date calculations and text functions. Understanding these methods allows you to effectively manage your date data, ensuring accuracy, consistency, and the ability to perform various date-related tasks within your spreadsheets.

By answering common questions related to date manipulation, we’ve provided a comprehensive guide to help you become proficient in answering how to change dates in Excel, empowering you to make the most of this versatile software for your data management needs.

Write your comment Here