How to Short Date in Excel – Apply Short Date Format

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Excel can handle any sort of data including text, numbers, and dates. When it comes to dates, users may find it difficult as compared to common numbers and text. This difficulty appears because Excel takes dates very differently.

With Excel, you can represent the same date in multiple formats. And making changes in the date formats is not always handy. Here in this post, you will learn how to short date in Excel while using multiple options.

Different Formats of Displaying Dates

Below is an example you can see different ways to present a date.

Usually, a date has three parts, the date, month, and year. Moreover, you may have seen the day of the week and the time is included as well.

For instance, the 22-December-2022 can be displayed in several formats. However, cell B6 shows the same date as 44700 as the cell has not been formatted to have the date values.

Always you must accept the format changes of the cell that a date value has. Excel has default date formats that you can use. These formats have date arguments that show a date between January 1, 1900, and December 31, 9999. As you know Excel helps in analyzing data as well, that’s why for calculation purposes Excel stores date as sequential numbers.

The date January 1, 1900, is stored in Excel as serial number 1 and May 19, 2022, is serial number 44700 because it is 44700 days after January 1, 1900, by default.

Difference between Long Date and Short Date Formats

Other than the short date format, Excel has a Long date Format as well. In the long date format, you can see the day of the week in combination with the full month name.

In the formula bar, the real date is: 1/1/2021

As you know the cell formation displays the date in a long format, it will be displayed in the cell as Friday, January 1, 2021.

Well, in most cases the long date format is not suitable to display the date. It includes many components that’s why it takes time to display. Also, long dates require more space and it increases the width of the column.

Have you ever seen the ### pound symbol in a cell that has a date?

If so, it is because the cell width is more than it should be to display the full date. It is also because the cell has a long date format. To overcome this problem, you have to shift from a long-date format to a short-date format.

Different Methods to Apply Short Dates in Excel

You can use different methods to apply a short-date format in Excel. Let’s understand this phenomenon with examples.

Apply Short Date Format using Home Tab

Below are some useful steps to apply the short-date format. Select the list in the Excel sheet that has the dates to format. Open the Home tab and click on the Number option.

In the drop-down menu, you will see many formats. Choose any of them:



Short date


Long date



Fraction text


From this list, choose a short date and you will see the table with dates converting to short date format dd-mm-yyyy. Below is a table you can see all the dates in Short Date format.

Apply Short Date Format using Format Cell

Using the Format Cell, you can apply the short date format by selecting the date you need to format and right-clicking on it. You can customize the date components by separating the date, month, and year using the hyphens (-), slashes (/), or dots (.).

For short-date applications, choose the cell range having the dates to format. Right-click on it and use the keyboard shortcut. Press CTRL + 1 to open the menu.

Open the Format Cell and choose Date from different categories. The category General is set for all the cells by default.

When you open the Date, you can choose any date format for your date.

Apply Short Date Format using Format Cells Dialog Box

This method also lets you customize the Short date format as per your needs. For instance, choose the components of the date that needed to be separated using hyphens (-), slashes (/), or dots (.).

Follow the steps given below to apply Short Date in Excel.

  1. Select the cell or collection of cells that needed to apply the Short Date format.
  2. Right-click on the selected cells and choose the “Format Cells” option from the context menu.
  3. Use the CTRL + 1 shortcut from the keyboard.

  1. You will see the dialog box opens up. From this dialog box, choose the Number tab.
  2. The Date option must be selected from the list.
  3. On the right side, you will see a number of date formatting options.
  4. Choose the short date format you need to apply to your dates.

  1. Click OK and close the Format Cells dialog box.

Now, the Short Date format is applied to the selected cells.

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