Using a Single Digit for a Year

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2021)


Bruce needs to display dates that represent a product's "Best By" date. The required format is mmddy, two-digit month, two-digit day, and one-digit year. So, September 28, 2021, would read 09281. Bruce cannot seem to come up with a custom format that uses only one digit for a year, though.

It is not difficult to come up with a custom format for this, it is impossible. Excel's custom formatting allows for either two or four digits for years, but not one or three. Because of this, you need to rely on either a formula or a user-defined function (macro).

Let's look at the formula methods, first. The idea is to use the equivalent of a custom format (in the TEXT function) for the portions that can be represented properly, and then add to that a single digit for the year. Either of these formulas will handle that:

=TEXT(A1,"mmdd") & RIGHT(TEXT(A1,"yy"),1)
=TEXT(A1,"mmdd") & RIGHT(YEAR(A1),1)

If you prefer, you could create a single-line user-defined function, in this manner:

Function DateCode(DateVal As Date) As String
    DateCode = Format(DateVal, "mmdd") & Right(Year(DateVal), 1)
End Function

This function essentially does, in macro form, what the second formula above does. To use the function, you would simply place it in a cell, like so:


Remember that the result of any of these approaches (formula or UDF) is a text string. So, for instance, you could combine the results with other text, in this manner:

="Expires: " & TEXT(A1,"mmdd") & RIGHT(TEXT(A1,"yy"),1)
="Good through " & TEXT(A1,"mmdd") & RIGHT(YEAR(A1),1)
="Use before " & DateCode(A1)


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9971) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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. ...


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What is 3 - 3?

2021-01-18 12:43:05

David Bonin

I use and would love to see a universal date format of yyyy-mm-dd.
This puts folders and files in chronological order even where the system is not seeing it as a date.

Using dashes instead of slashes allows this date format to be used in file names. I use this as a simple method of version control.

It also has the advantage of conforming to ISO 8601. If nothing else, conformance helps eliminate the "mine is better than yours" argument.

Lastly, this format seems universal enough to be recognized all over the world. It's worked so far for the people on the four continents I work with.

2021-01-16 12:17:02


VBA also has a nice little DatePart function. In the immediate window, this input "? right(DatePart("yyyy","01/16/2021"),1)" produces a result of "1".

2021-01-16 10:46:48


I use and would love to see a universal date format of yyyy/mm/dd. This puts folders and files in chronological order even where the system is not seeing it as a date.

Seems terribly logical.

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