Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 European Dates to US Dates.

Converting European Dates to US Dates

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2022)

5

Linda asked if there is a formula that will convert a date shown in the European fashion of day/month/year to the US version of month/date/year. Truth be told, this may not be necessary. You see, Excel maintains dates, internally, as numeric values and then simply displays them using various formats. If the dates are truly dates—numeric values—in the worksheet, then you can simply change the format and the dates will be displayed in the way common to the US.

Of course, the date you see in a worksheet could be a text value, instead of a date value. You can test whether the date is really an Excel date or a text value by changing the format of the cell (or cells) to General. (Do this using the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.) If it is text, you'll see no change in the display. If it is a date value, the date should change to a number that represents the number of days since whatever base date your system is using (typically January 1, 1900).

If your dates are truly date values, then simply change the format of the cell (or cells) to whatever date format you want to use. Again, this is done using the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

If your dates are text values, then you will need to convert them to true date values (non-text) so that they can be formatted as just described. You can do this by using a formula to do the conversion. If you have a text date in cell A1 in the format dd/mm/yyyy, then you can use the following formula:

=DATE(VALUE(RIGHT(A1,4)), VALUE(MID(A1,4,2)), VALUE(LEFT(A1,2)))

The result of this formula is a date serial number that is recognized and can be formatted by Excel.

Of course, it is possible that you have a bunch of mixed dates in your worksheet. Consider the following list of dates:

1/1/20
2/1/20
3/1/20
4/1/20
5/1/20
6/1/20
7/1/20
8/1/20
9/1/20
10/1/20
11/1/20
12/1/20
13/1/20
14/1/20
15/1/20
16/1/20
17/1/20

If these are entered into a worksheet, the first twelve dates (1/1/20 through 12/1/20) are parsed by Excel as January 1, 2020, through December 1, 2020. The next five dates are parsed as text since Excel doesn't, by default, recognize that the dates are in d/m/y format. If you have a bunch of dates like this, you can quickly convert them to real dates without the use of any formulas. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select all the cells containing the dates—both the date values and the text values.
  2. Start the Text to Columns wizard. (Select Text to Columns in the Data Tools group from the Data tab of the ribbon.) (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The first screen of the Convert Text to Columns wizard.

  4. Choose Fixed Width and click Next to proceed to step 2 of the wizard.
  5. If you see any column break indicators in the dialog box, get rid of them by double-clicking on them. You don't want any such indicators because you don't want Excel to think you have static breaking places for your data.
  6. When all the column break indictors are gone, click Next to proceed to step 3 of the wizard.
  7. In the Column Data Format section of the dialog, click the Date radio button.
  8. Using the date format drop-down list, choose DMY.
  9. Click Finish.

That's it; your data is converted, in place, to the date values that Excel can work with.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10566) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Converting European Dates to US Dates.

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

A Fast Find-Next

Tired of the Find and Replace dialog box blocking the view of your worksheet when you are searching for information? Do ...

Discover More

Running a Procedure when a Workbook is Opened

Ever want to have Excel run a procedure whenever you open a workbook? It's not as difficult as you might think. Here's how.

Discover More

Protecting Hidden Text

Formatting some of your text as hidden can be a great help when you need to keep some things from being viewed or ...

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)

End-of-Month Calculations

Don't want to use the EOMONTH function to figure out the end of a given month? Here are some other ideas for discovering ...

Discover More

Unique Date Displays

Need to print an elapsed date in a strange format? It's easier to do than may appear at first glance. Here's a discussion ...

Discover More

Inserting Tomorrow's Date

You can use a couple of different worksheet functions to enter today's date in a cell. What if you want to calculate ...

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 nine more than 9?

2022-03-07 05:54:00

Peter

I need to download the csv monthly, so maybe the smarter thing would be to overwrite the file and continue to use the query.
I tried to enter the name of a new csv in the query (at step 1) but that seemed to clear the rest of the steps in the query - or maybe I just messed up.


2022-03-07 03:35:23

Philip

@Peter, I just noticed that (at least on Mac Excel 365) the "Get Data" approach to import CSV's has been updated recently to implement some "smart" behaviour, and by applying PowerQuery-like steps on a CSV. This looks nice, but in some cases you may still want to use the "old" approach with the settings where you can specify all details of the import query. That still exists on Mac, but is only accessible from the File Import MENU (so NOT from the Data RIBBON) ... maybe that helps you ?


2022-03-06 11:46:09

J. Woolley

@Peter
Here's another way suggested by the Tip's 8 step procedure:
1. Open your CSV in Notepad and press Ctrl+A plus Ctrl+C to Copy All.
2. Close Excel, then open a new workbook in a NEW instance of Excel and press Ctrl+V to paste the unformatted text copied in step 1. If you don't do this in a NEW instance of Excel, it might format the text based on a previous "query" conversion.
3. Select the text pasted in step 2, then start the Text to Columns Wizard (Data > Text to Columns).
4. Pick the Wizard's Delimited option, then click Next.
5. At the Wizard's step 2, pick the proper delimiter (usually Comma), then click Next.
6. At the Wizard's step 3, click the column of data containing dates, then pick the Date option button under Column Data Format.
7. Pick the data's format from the Date drop-down list (usually MDY for USA data), then click Finish. The data's dates will be correctly converted to serial date numeric values, which can be formatted using Excel's Format Cells dialog (Ctrl+1).
After the CSV data has been converted in the new workbook, it can be copied to your preferred destination.


2022-03-06 09:16:37

Graham Rice

It is not strictly true to say that dd/mm/yy is the European format for dates. It is also common throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and South America, etc. This format is much more widely used than the US format.

A look at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_format_by_country : will show how different systems are used worldwide, cyan and green colouring being the main areas using dd/mm/yy.

Today could be represented as either 06/03/22 (dd/mm/yy) or 03/06/22 (mm/dd/yy) depending upon which format is used. This can be very confusing.

Although the ISO format yyyy/mm/dd may be regarded as a worldwide 'standard' it is not common in everyday speech for people to say "today is 2022 March 6th".

It would be much better to represent dates as either dd/mmm/yyyy or mmm/dd/yyyy which would give 06/Mar/2022 or Mar/06/2022. Both formats should be understandable by everybody, regardless of their local preference. This becomes important if you are sharing an Excel workbook internationally. It should also become common practice on printed documents, web sites, etc.


2022-03-05 18:10:40

Peter

Every month I download some CSV data with dates formatted in the US style. I'm using Excel 365 and my locale uses the 'European' style. Unfortunately, I can't just open the CSV in Excel since it automatically tries to convert the dates in d/m/y order. I did wonder why the site changed from the ISO format (which imported OK), but I have no control over that.

To get around this, I had to learn more about data queries and was able to set up a 5 step query to filter out unwanted rows, promote headers, change data type (not sure why)) then separate out the date fields. Quite a few steps and the query seems to be tied to the file name. So for the next month, I have to edit the source file name in the query before running it.

There must be a better way. Can I stop Excel making the date conversion in the first place? Then I'd use a date formula.


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.