Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Converting an Unsupported Date Format.

Converting an Unsupported Date Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 16, 2014)

It is not uncommon to load information from other programs into Excel. For instance, you may have data generated by another program, and you want to analyze that data in Excel. When you import data into Excel, it does a fairly good job of assigning the proper data types to information, and it can even parse and convert some data.

When it comes to dates and times, however, not all programs speak in a way that Excel can understand. For instance, if your other program stores dates in the format "Mon Jan 10 14:33:03 2011", then Excel won't be able to parse the date and you will need to do the conversion in some other manner.

Fortunately, most programs generate their dates and times in a format that follows a pattern. Assuming, for instance, that "Mon Jan 10 14:33:03 2001" represents the format followed by all dates, you can do the conversion using a simple formula:

=DATEVALUE(MID(A1,9,2)&MID(A1,5,3)&RIGHT(A1,4)) + TIMEVALUE(MID(A1,12,8))

This formula assumes that the foreign date/time format is in cell A1. Simply format the result of the formula using one of Excel's date/time formats, and you'll have no problem.

If you prefer, you can use the Text to Columns function to break the foreign date/time format into its integral parts:

  1. Make sure there are four empty columns to the right of the date/time. This is where Excel will place the various parts of the date/time.
  2. Choose all of the cells containing the foreign dates/times.
  3. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Convert Text to Columns tool in the Data Tools group. Excel starts the Convert Text to Columns Wizard. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

  6. Make sure that Delimited is selected, then click Next. Excel displays the second step of the wizard.
  7. Make sure the Space check box is selected.
  8. Click Finish.

The dates and times are now separated into five individual columns. You can now use a formula to put a valid date/time back together. For instance, assuming that the exploded version of the date/time is in cells A1:E1, you could use the following:

=(C1&B1&E1)+D2

Again, format the result using a date/time format, and you are all set.

If you prefer to use a macro to do the conversion, then the following macro will step through all the selected cells and do the conversion:

Sub ConvDate()
    Dim c As Range
    
    For Each c In Selection.Cells
        c = DateValue(Mid(c, 5, 6) & ", " _
          & Mid(c, 21, 4)) + TimeValue(Mid(c, 12, 8))
        c.NumberFormat = "dd MMMM yyyy h:mm:ss"
    Next c
End Sub

The macro converts the text string to an acceptable date/time (using DateValue) and then formats the cell to display the value property.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9779) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Converting an Unsupported Date Format.

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

Understanding the COMPARE Field

The COMPARE field is rather esoteric, but it can be helpful when you need to compare two values using fields. The result of ...

Discover More

Selecting Fonts for a Chart

When formatting a chart, you might want to change the characteristics of the font used in various chart elements. This can be ...

Discover More

Selecting Random Names

Got a ton of names from which you need to select a few random names? There are several ways you can extract what you need; ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Calculating Week-Ending Dates

When working with dates, you may need to figure out all the dates on which weeks end in a given year. There are several ...

Discover More

Rounding to the Nearest Quarter Hour

When entering times in a worksheet, you may have a need to round whatever you enter to the nearest 15-minute increment. There ...

Discover More

Using Early Dates

Excel is brilliant at handling dates—as long as they aren't dates earlier than the base date used by the program. If ...

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 nine more than 9?

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.