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: Dates with Periods.

Dates with Periods

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2018)

3

Lee prefers a date format that uses periods, such as 5.29.15. He wonders if there is a way to create such a format and if that format can be set as the default date format used by Excel.

Defining the date format in Excel is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to format.
  2. Right-click the range to display a Context menu, from which you should choose Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Number tab is displayed.
  4. In the Category list, choose Custom. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. In the Type box enter "m.d.yy" (without the quote marks).
  7. Click OK.

That's it; you now have a format set to display dates you want. If you want the format to be the default for all dates, then you are going to have to make a change in the Regional Settings of Windows itself. (Excel draws its default from these settings.) The exact way you do this varies depending on the version of Windows you are using, but in general there is a choice in the Windows Control Panel that allows you to specify regional settings. All you need to do is modify those settings to reflect the date format you want to use. The change will affect not only the display of numbers in Excel, but in other Windows-compliant programs, as well.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10847) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Dates with Periods.

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

Listing Documents with Passwords

Do you need a list of documents that require a password or that require a particular password to open? Word doesn't ...

Discover More

Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key

When you press Enter while adding information to a worksheet, Excel normally drops to the next cell down in the column. ...

Discover More

Formatting Issues with Indexing Levels

When you insert an index in a document, Word automatically takes care of formatting that index. What if the index levels ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Superscripts in Custom Formats

When you create custom formats for your data, Excel provides quite a few ways you can make that data look just as you ...

Discover More

Understanding Date and Time Formatting Codes

Want to apply a custom format to your dates and times? To do it effectively you need to understand the custom formatting ...

Discover More

Displaying Negative Percentages in Red

Excel includes quite a few different formats you can use for the information in a worksheet. One format that isn't as ...

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 8 + 3?

2015-05-27 20:34:08

Sheila McInnes

Thank you. I've got it now.


2015-05-26 08:58:39

Monique B

No you do not have to, but if you key your date with slashes, it will change the slashes to periods, depending on how you enter it. Ex: 4/5/2015 will appear 4.5.2015 and 4/5/15 will appear 4.5.15


2015-05-24 08:17:23

Sheila McInnes

Do you still have to enter the date with slashes?


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.