Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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: Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems.

Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 29, 2019)

Edward has noticed a problem with formatted dates on different machines. Many times, he will create a workbook on one computer but use a different computer to print the report for inclusion in a mailing. Even though he has the cells formatted one way when he creates the report (i.e., the date is mm/dd/yy), when he opens the workbook on the second computer the date will appear differently (mm/dd/yyyy). This causes problems with the appearance of the final printed report as the cell data is then truncated.

Actually, the answer to this problem is similar to the discussion in the previous tip. The problem occurs because of differences in the way that system dates are set up on the two machines. On one machine the system date is set up in Windows to display using two digits for the year, while the other is set up to display using four.

How does this affect Excel? Some of the date formats in Excel automatically use the system date format used by Windows. When you display the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box you know that Excel provides a number of different date formats you can select. Note that some of the formats have an asterisk in front of them. These represent the "system date" formats. If you select one of these, it means that Excel uses the corresponding system date format to display the information in the cell. If you move the workbook to a different system and the formats used for system dates are different, then the dates will display differently in those cells.

The solution is to either change the system date formats to be the same on both systems (done in Windows, in the Regional Settings applet of the Control Panel), or simply pick a different date format in Excel. You'll want to pick one that doesn't have an asterisk in front of it or define your own custom date format. You should then have no problem with different displays of the dates on the different systems.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9513) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems.

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

Inserting the Template Name in Your Document

Templates are a powerful part of the Word experience, as they allow you to create and format documents based on patterns. ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of 'Mail To:' in E-mail Links

If you convert e-mail addresses to hyperlinks, you could end up with some 'mailto:' verbiage at the beginning of the ...

Discover More

Formatting Endnote Reference Marks

The reference marks used for endnotes are, by default, formatted "good enough" for most people. If you are one of those ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Shortcut Key for Format Painter

The Format Painter is great for copying formatting from one cell to another. If you don't want to grab the mouse to use ...

Discover More

Hash Marks Displayed Instead of Cell Contents

Have you ever entered information in a cell only for it to appear as hash marks? This tip explains why this happens, how ...

Discover More

Problems with Custom Views

If you get an error when you try to use one of your custom views, it could be due to the protection you have applied to ...

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}] 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 9 - 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.