Importing Date Data Into Excel

Dates and CSV files

Sometimes when you import data via a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file or a TXT file, the dates don’t always import very well.

Many systems save data in a CSV format. The CSV file format is recognised by Excel. If however the default import doesn’t work you can have greater control over the import process by renaming the file to .txt instead of .csv.

Use Windows Notepad to rename the file. It’s easier if you modify the name slightly as it will then save it with the .txt suffix.

When Excel opens .txt files it goes through the Text Import Wizard which allows you to specify the column type to use for the data.

The three steps in the Wizard are shown below.

Excel Text Import Wizard Step 1

Excel Text Import Wizard Step 2

Many people click the Finish button at this second step, but it’s the third step that has the column format option.

Excel Text Import Wizard Step 3


The third step allows you to define a format for each column. This also allows you to not import certain columns.

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