Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working with Pre-1900 Dates
Working with Pre-1900 Dates
According to Excel, the world began on January 1, 1900. If you work with historical information,
you may have noticed that Excel doesn’t recognize pre-1900 dates. For example, if you enter
July 4, 1776 into a cell, Excel interprets it as text, not as a date.
Unfortunately, the only way to work with pre-1900 dates is to enter the date into a cell as text.
The problem, however, is that you can’t perform any manipulation on dates recognized as text.
For example, you can’t change its numeric formatting, you can’t determine which day of the
week this date occurred on, and you can’t calculate the date that occurs seven days later.
To be able to sort by dates that precede 1900, enter the year, month, and day into separate cells.
Figure 93-1 shows a simple example.
Figure 93-1: To allow sorting by pre-1900 dates, enter the year, month, and day into separate cells.
To sort the presidents by birthday, first do an ascending sort on column D, an ascending sort on
column C, and, finally, an ascending sort on column B. The result is shown in Figure 93-2.
Unfortunately, you can’t perform other date-related operations for these pre-1900 dates. For
example, you cannot perform subtraction to determine ages.
 
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