Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering a series of dates
INSIDE OUT The magic crossover date
December 31, 2029, is the default magic crossover date—that is, the last day Excel
assumes is in the future if you enter the year using only two digits. For example, if you
type 12/31/29 in a cell, Excel assumes you mean the year 2029. If, however, you type
1/1/30 in a cell, Excel interprets it to mean January 1, 1930. (Perhaps this would be
better characterized as a cross under date.)
You can change this magic date, but not from Excel; instead you use Windows Control
Panel. (Therefore, changing this setting also affects any other applications that need to
interpret past or future date entries.) In Windows, open Control Panel and click Clock,
Language, And Region (or Regional And Language Options in Windows XP). Next, click
Region, and then click the Additional Settings button. (In Windows 7, click Region And
Language, and then Additional Settings. In Windows Vista, click Regional And
Language Options, and then Customize This Format. In Windows XP, click the Customize
button on the Regional Options tab.) Finally, click the Date tab, and change the last
date (2029) to the value of your choice. Of course, you’re still limited to a 100-year
span; if you change the last date that Windows recognizes as being in the future, the
corresponding beginning date—January 1, 1900—changes accordingly. If you need to
enter century-spanning dates, you should get into the habit of typing the full four-digit
year to avoid surprises.
Entering a series of dates
You can create an evenly spaced series of dates in a row or column in several ways, but the
job is especially easy when you use the ill handle. Suppose you want to create a series of
dates in row 1. The series begins with March 1, 2011, and the dates must be exactly one
month apart.
If you type 3/1/2014 in cell A1 and drag the ill handle to the right, Excel extends the series
of dates incrementally by days, as shown in Figure 15-1. After you drag, Excel displays an
option button adjacent to the selection. Click the button to display a menu, shown in
Figure 15-1, that provides a number of AutoFill options; select Fill Months to convert the day
series into a month series.
If you drag the ill handle by right-clicking it, a shortcut menu that is similar to the options
menu appears. You can use this shortcut menu to select a ill command before performing
any ill action. If what you want to do isn’t represented on the menu, click the Series
command to display the Series dialog box.
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