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How to stop auto formatting number to date in Excel?

In Excel, when you type a string number like “2014-6-1” or “1/2” into a cell, it will auto format this number to date “6/1/2014” or “2-Jan”. Sometimes, you may think this auto formatting is annoying, now I tell you how to stop auto formatting number to date in Excel.

Stop auto formatting number by adding a space or apostrophe

Stop auto formatting number by formatting as Text

Convert text date/number string to standard date


arrow blue right bubble Stop auto formatting number by adding a space or apostrophe


If you only have a few numbers to enter, you can stop Excel from changing them into dates by entering a space or apostrophe.

Before you enter the number data, type a space or apostrophe ‘ into the cell then following the number data, press Enter. If you type the space before data, the space will be retained after press Enter button, if you type the apostrophe, the cell format will be converted to text format, and the apostrophe will disappear when you press Enter. See screenshots:

doc-stop-auto-formating-date-1 doc-arrow doc-stop-auto-formating-date-2

arrow blue right bubble Stop auto formatting number by format as Text

If you have a long list of number data need to be typed into cells and stop auto formatting to date, you can use the Format Cells function in Excel.

1. Select the range you want to type the data number and right click to open the context menu and click Format Cells. See screenshot:

doc-stop-auto-formating-date-3

2. Click Number tab and select Text from the Category list. Then click OK to close the dialog. See screenshot:

doc-stop-auto-formating-date-4

Now you can type the number data into the range and it cannot be auto formatted as date. See screenshot:

doc-stop-auto-formating-date-5

Note: The above two methods cannot work when the number data has been typed already.


arrow blue right bubble Convert text date/number string to standard date

When you copy date from other sources to Excel, the date maybe change to text format, or for convinient, you may type date as number string directly, such as 20160504. In thses case, you may want to convert thses nonstandard dates to the standard date formatting mm/dd/yyyy. Here with Kutools for Excel--a handy tool, its Convert to Date utility can quickly convert multiple non standard dates to standard dates.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 120 handy Excel functions, enhance your working efficiency and save your working time.

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Select the nonstandard dates, and click Kutools > Content > Convert to Date. See screenshot:
doc stop auto formatting date 6

2. After applying the Convert to Date, you can see all the nonstandard dates have been converted to the standared dates in the Convert to Date dialog, and just click OK to exist the dialog.
doc stop auto formatting date 7doc stop auto formatting date 8

Tip. If you want to have a free trial of the Convert to Date function, please go tofree download Kutools for Excel first, and then go to apply the operation according above steps.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    MILTON CESA · 5 months ago
    GRACIAS DE TANTO BATALLAR, LOGRÉ SOLUCIONAR EL PROBLEMA CON RESPECTO A QUE EXCEL RECONOCÍA FECHAS POR OTROS DATOS.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Sunny · 4 months ago
      Sorry, could you repeat your question in English again?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    jay · 1 years ago
    Hi I want date format for dd mm yyyy example 04 Jan 2001. 05 Mar 2002. I want this format how to do pls help...