Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering Dates and Times into Your Worksheets
What happens when you enter text that’s longer than its column’s current width? If the
cells to the immediate right are blank, Excel displays the text in its entirety, appearing to
spill the entry into adjacent cells. If an adjacent cell isn’t blank, Excel displays as much of
the text as possible. (The full text is contained in the cell; it’s just not displayed.) If you
need to display a long text string in a cell that’s adjacent to a nonblank cell, you have a few
choices:
Edit your text to make it shorter.
Increase the width of the column (drag the border in the column letter display).
Use a smaller font.
Wrap the text within the cell so that it occupies more than one line. Choose
Home
Alignment
Wrap Text to toggle wrapping on and off for the selected cell
or range.
Entering Dates and Times into Your Worksheets
Excel treats dates and times as special types of numeric values. Dates and times are values
that are formatted so that they appear as dates or times. If you work with dates and times,
you need to understand Excel’s date and time system.
13
Entering date values
Excel handles dates by using a serial number system. The earliest date that Excel
understands is January 1, 1900. This date has a serial number of 1. January 2, 1900, has a serial
number of 2, and so on. This system makes it easy to deal with dates in formulas. For
example, you can enter a formula to calculate the number of days between two dates.
Most of the time, you don’t have to be concerned with Excel’s serial number date system.
You can simply enter a date in a common date format, and Excel takes care of the details
behind the scenes. For example, if you need to enter June 1, 2013, you can enter the date
by typing June 1, 2013 (or use any of several different date formats). Excel interprets your
entry and stores the value 41426, which is the serial number for that date.
The date examples in this topic use the U.S. English system. Your Windows regional settings will affect how Excel
interprets a date you’ve entered. For example, depending on your regional date settings, June 1, 2013 may be
interpreted as text rather than a date. In such a case, you need to enter the date in a format that corresponds to your
regional date settings — for example, 1 June, 2013 .
 
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