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Course Content

Formatting Date-Time in MS Excel

How to change date and time format


Now we will see that how we can change date and time format in MS Excel.

We can see that on screen we have different type of dates written, like birth date, date of hiring, sales date etc...

As we know that if we want to write date in MS Excel we use '/' or '-' symbol. By default format of date in MS Excel is MM/DD/YYYY.

Suppose if we want the format of the date to be changed according to our need, so for that we will press 'Ctrl+1' and a dialog box of 'Format cell' will get opened, than we can select our desirable date format.

Now if we want our date to be in long format, then we don't need to go to format cell dialogue box, we can change it in HOME tab where we can see a column 'Date'. When we open it we can see that there are number of different formats available there.

Now if we choose long date option then our date will be in the format of 'Day, Month, Date, Year'.

Now suppose if you want the format of date according to our requirement, then we can set the format of date by going in to format cell dialogue box, and writing the format of date which we want in the format column.

If we want to get the date in standard form again, than we will go to the date column and select standard date format.

If we want to view that which particular month it is written in any date by name, then we can select the date and press 'Ctrl+Shift+3' keys.

Now we will talk about time format, suppose we want to change the time which we have written in 24 hour format to 12 hour format, then we can use a shortcut for that, i.e. by pressing 'Ctrl+Shift+2', which will change all the time format into AM and PM.


  • Select the cells you want to format.
  • Press CTRL+1.
  • In the Format Cells box, click the Number tab.
  • In the Category list, click Date.
  • Under Type, pick a date format.
  • If you want to use a date format according to how another language displays dates, choose
  • the language in Locale (location).

To apply the Format function, we need to select the cell that contains the date-time value and then type a comma after it. After that, we should type "Format" and then press Enter on our keyboard. The screen will show us two options - General and Custom.

The following is a list of shortcuts for formatting date-time in MS Excel:

  • Ctrl + Shift + R - Format cells as date.
  • Ctrl + Shift + D - Format cells as time.
  • Ctrl + Shift + T - Format cells as time with am/pm.
  • Ctrl + Shift + H - Format cells as 24 hour clock.
  • Ctrl+Shift+ A – Apply the same formatting to all cells in the selection.

You can use the Preview tab to see how your changes will look before you apply them to your document. You’ll also be able to see how the formatting will change for each paragraph, including lists and headings. Previewing formatting changes before applying them is a great way to make sure that you are not wasting time on formatting that will not be used.

There are three ways to format date-time in MS Excel. They are:

  • Enter the date-time using the date and time formats (for example, 1/1/2016 12:00 AM)
  • Use the format function (for example, ="January 1st 2016 at 12:00 AM")
  • Click on "Format Cells" in the "Home" tab and select "Custom." Then enter a custom date-time format in the box that pops up.

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