Excel: Custom Date Formats

Formatting dates in Microsoft Excel is easy, right?  All you have to do is:

  1. Right-click in the cell you are formatting
  2. Select Format Cells
  3. Select Date under Category
  4. Choose your format.

But what do you do if you want your own custom date format to show up in the options?  The Excel Date Format MM/DD/YYYY won’t show up unless it is selected in the Windows Control Panel. Fortunately, this is an easy fix (instructions apply to Windows 7, but ought to be similar for Vista and XP):

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel
  2. Select Clock, Language, and Region
  3. Under Region and Language, select Change the date, time, or number format
  4. Set the Short Date to MM/DD/YYYY.

    Now go back to Excel, and there, right along with the other date formatting options, is your very own custom date format!

    Format Cells - MM-DD-YYYY

    Other types of formatting are covered in our Excel 2007 and 2003 classes.

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