Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Figure 6-2: Use the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box to change the appearance of dates and times.
The Date category shows built-in date formats, and the Time category shows built-in time formats. Additional
date and time formats are available from the Custom category. Some formats include both date and time dis-
plays. Just select the desired format from the Type list and then click OK.
Note that the first two date formats in the Date category and the first time format in the Time category corres-
pond to your Windows date and time settings.
If none of the built-in formats meets your needs, you can create a custom number format. Select the Custom cat-
egory and type the custom format codes into the Type box. (See Appendix B for information on creating custom
Problems with dates
Excel has some problems when it comes to dates. Many of these problems stem from the fact that Excel was de-
signed many years ago, before the acronym Y2K became a household term. And, as I describe, the Excel de-
signers basically emulated the Lotus 1-2-3 limited date and time features, which contain a nasty bug duplicated
intentionally in Excel (described later). In addition, versions of Excel show inconsistency in how they interpret
a cell entry that has a two-digit year. And finally, how Excel interprets a date entry depends on your regional
If Excel were being designed from scratch today, I'm sure it would be much more versatile in dealing with
dates. Unfortunately, we're currently stuck with a product that leaves much to be desired in the area of dates.
The Excel leap year bug