Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
It Takes All Types
Entering dates with no debate
At first look, it may strike you a bit odd to enter dates and times as values
in the cells of a worksheet rather than text. The reason for this is simple,
really: Dates and times entered as values can be used in formula calculations,
whereas dates and times entered as text cannot. For example, if you enter
two dates as values, you can then set up a formula that subtracts the more
recent date from the older date and returns the number of days between
them. This kind of thing just couldn’t happen if you were to enter the two
dates as text entries.
Excel determines whether the date or time that you type is a value or text
by the format that you follow. If you follow one of Excel’s built-in date-and-
time formats, the program recognizes the date or time as a value. If you don’t
follow one of the built-in formats, the program enters the date or time as a
text entry — it’s as simple as that.
Excel recognizes the following time formats:
3 AM or 3 PM
3 A or 3 P (upper- or lowercase a or p — Excel inserts 3:00 AM or 3:00 PM)
3:21 AM or 3:21 PM (upper- or lowercase am or pm)
3:21:04 AM or 3:21:04 PM (upper- or lowercase am or pm)
Excel isn’t fussy, so you can enter the AM or PM designation in the date in any
manner — uppercase letters, lowercase letters, or even a mix of the two.
Excel knows the following date formats. (Month abbreviations always use the
first three letters of the name of the month: Jan, Feb, Mar, and so forth.)
November 6, 2012 or November 6, 12 (appear in cell as 6-Nov-12
11/6/12 or 11-6-12 (appear in cell as 11/6/2012)
6-Nov-12 or 6/Nov/12 or even 6Nov12 (all appear in cell as 6-Nov-12)
11/6 or 6-Nov or 6/Nov or 6Nov (all appear in cell as 6-Nov)
Nov-06 or Nov/06 or Nov06 (all appear in cell as 6-Nov)
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