Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Formatting Dates and Times
To format dates and times, first open the Format Cells dialog box shown in Figure
16-7 (Home ➝ Cells ➝ Format ➝ Format Cells). Choose Date or Time from the
column on the left, and then choose the format from the list on the right. Date and
Time both provide a slew of options.
Excel gives you dozens of different
ways to format dates and times.
You can choose between formats
that modify the date’s appearance
depending on the regional settings of
the computer viewing the Excel file, or
you can choose a fixed date format.
When using a fixed date format, you
don’t have to stick to the U.S.
standard. Instead, choose the appropriate
region from the Locale list box. Each
locale provides its own set of
customized date formats.
Excel has essentially two types of date and time formats:
• Formats that take the regional settings of the spreadsheet viewer’s computer
into account . With these formats, dates display differently depending on the
computer that’s running Excel. This choice is a good one because it lets
everyone see dates in just the way they want to, which means no time-consuming
arguments about month-day-year or day-month-year ordering.
• Formats that ignore the regional settings of individual computers . These
formats define a fixed pattern for month, day, year, and time components, and
display date-related information in exactly the same way on all computers.
If you need to absolutely make sure a date is in a certain format, you should use
The first group (the formats that rely on a computer’s regional settings) is the
smallest. It includes two date formats (a compact, number-only format and a long, more
descriptive format) and one time format. In the Type list, these formats are at the top
and have an asterisk next to them.