Fix date format

On a recent Webinar I was asked a question about an unusual date structure that was imported. The structure was not recognised by Excel as a date. Here is formula that fixes it.

Below is an example of the date issue.

The formula in cell B2 is


As you can see the dates in column A are left aligned. That is a clue that they are not recognised as dates in Excel. Dates are right aligned.

The SUBSTITUTE function replaces the full stop between the numerals with a / and makes it look like a date.

This isn’t sufficient as the SUBSTITUTE function will return text. The *1 at the end converts the text date in to a real date that Excel recognises.

Note: Power Query can also automatically fix dates like these when it imports data.




Entering Dates in Excel

Stop the full stop

There are only two characters Excel recognises when separating numeric days, months and years in dates. They are the / and – characters.

Please don’t use the full stop as Excel won’t recognise it as a date.

Below you can see examples of using / and – in dates.


When you use the full stop Excel won’t recognise it as a date – see below.

Its left aligned and will be treated a text.

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