How to Turn Off the Automatic Formatting of Dates in Microsoft Excel


Automatic formatting of text and numbers can be a great convenience. Spreadsheet formatting of dates, for example, ensures that all your dates are presented in a consistent manner, no matter how you originally entered the date. At times, though, automatic formatting can lead to inappropriate entries. For example, you may want the cell to retain and display your original entry of "3/14," but the spreadsheet's automatic date formatting tool changes your entry to "March 14." You can disable Excel's automatic date formatting function with a few mouse clicks.

  • Click in the cell where you want to disable automatic formatting of dates.

  • Click the "Format" arrow near the top of the spreadsheet to open the pull-down formatting menu. Alternatively, you can right-click the cell or type "Ctrl-1" to display the menu.

  • Click the "Format cells" option to open a dialog box, then click the "Number" tab to display options for formatting numbers.

  • Click "Text" to display your cell entry as text rather than numbers. This option displays your entry exactly as you type it rather than in date format. Alternatively, click another option, such as "Time" or "Scientific" to display a number in a format other than a date.

  • Click "OK" to close the dialog box and set the cell as selected.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can adjust format options for an entire column, row or region by highlighting the area and following the same steps used to adjust formatting in an individual cell.

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