Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Problems with dates
FIGURE 16.1
Use the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box to change the appearance of dates
and times.
16
The Date category shows built-in date formats, and the Time category shows built-in time
formats. Some formats include both date and time displays. Just select the desired format
from the Type list, and then click OK.
When you create a formula that refers to a cell containing a date or a time, Excel sometimes automatically formats
the formula cell as a date or a time. Often, this automation is very helpful; other times, it’s completely inappropriate
and downright annoying. To return the number formatting to the default General format, choose Home
Number
Number Format and choose General from the drop-down list. Or just press Ctrl+Shift+~ (tilde).
If none of the built-in formats meets your needs, you can create a custom number format.
Select the Custom category and then type the custom format codes into the Type box.
Problems with dates
Excel has some problems when it comes to dates. Many of these problems stem from the fact
that Excel was designed many years ago. Excel designers basically emulated the Lotus 1-2-3
program’s limited date and time features, which contain a nasty bug that was duplicated
intentionally in Excel (described next). If Excel were being designed from scratch today, it
likely would be much more versatile in dealing with dates. Unfortunately, users are
currently stuck with a product that leaves much to be desired in the area of dates.
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