Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Changing Excel's Starting Date.

Changing Excel's Starting Date

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 6, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


1

Excel allows you to choose which arbitrary date you use as the beginning point for date and time serial numbers. In the PC world, the default date is January 1, 1900. If you are working with Excel workbooks imported from the Macintosh environment, however, you will want to set the starting date to January 2, 1904—the default date used on the Mac.

To set which of these two dates is used, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the section titled When Calculating this Workbook. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. The Use 1904 Date System check box controls which dating system is used by Excel. If the check box is not selected, then the January 1, 1900 starting date is used; if it is selected, then January 2, 1904 is used.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6249) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Excel's Starting Date.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Multiple Print Areas on a Single Printed Page

Want to print small, non-contiguous areas of your worksheet all on a single page? You might think that defining a ...

Discover More

Excel Custom Formats

The fundamental building block to displaying your data is the feature known as custom formats. Here is the definitive ...

Discover More

Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting

If you use Excel to maintain a list of text strings (such as movie, book, or product titles), you may want the program to ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Changing Input Conventions

Different cultures have different conventions for displaying numbers and for parameters in Excel's worksheet functions. ...

Discover More

Disabling Shift+Ctrl

Both Excel and Windows have scores of defined shortcut keys. This can be great for productivity, but it can be a real ...

Discover More

Stopping Screen Shifting

When your screen doesn't behave as you expect, it could be because of the Scroll Lock on your system. Here's what to check.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 8?

2021-11-06 11:48:15

J. Woolley

This can also be changed using Workbook property Date1904. For example:
ActiveWorkbook.Date1904 = False -- use PC default
ActiveWorkbook.Date1904 = True -- use Macintosh default


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.