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 European Dates to US Dates.

Converting European Dates to US Dates

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 1, 2015)

3

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:

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

If these are entered into a worksheet, the first twelve dates (1/1/11 through 12/1/11) are parsed by Excel as January 1, 2011, through December 1, 2011. 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 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, and 2013. 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. ...

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Comments

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What is seven minus 2?

2017-04-16 12:08:02

CACody

My friend MPi (Michel) from Canada gave me this bit of code that is intended to correct for date differences that show up in different Excel versions and from different regions of the world.

Dim showDate As Boolean

Sep = Application.International(xlDateSeparator) 'defines the date separator
If Application.International(xlDateOrder) = 0 Then
If showDate = True Then .Columns(1).NumberFormat = "m" & Sep & "d" & Sep & "yyyy"
ElseIf Application.International(xlDateOrder) = 1 Then
If showDate = True Then .Columns(1).NumberFormat = "dd" & Sep & "mm" & Sep & "yyyy"
Else
If showDate = True Then .Columns(1).NumberFormat = "yyyy" & Sep & "mm" & Sep & "dd"
End If

Obviously the date entered is in Column 1. You'll need to research a bit on the use of the Application.International(xlDateSeparator)
Hope this helps.


2017-04-15 09:16:11

Fabrice

Hi Allen,
Thanks. Right on the money :)
very useful.
Sincerely,
Fabrice


2016-03-03 11:26:23

aron

Using excel 2010. No, this does not work at all. Bunk advise. I have a series of European dates, like 7/1/17, 14/1/17, 21/1/17, etc. They are NOT text. They ARE dates. No formatting I try will switch them to US dates like 1/7/17, 1/14/17, 1/21/17, etc.


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