How To Stop Excel From Auto Formatting Dates

One of the most common challenges faced by Excel users from around the world is its automatic date formatting. While this feature can be useful in some scenarios, it can also lead to confusion and frustration particularly when you want your data to remain as entered. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps to stop Excel from auto formatting dates.

Method 1: Pre-formatting Cells

One of the simplest ways to prevent Excel from auto formatting dates is to pre-format the cells before entering any data.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the cells that you want to input data into.
  2. Right click, and then select Format Cells.
  3. In the Category list, select Text, and then click OK.

Now, whatever you type into these cells, Excel will treat it as text and leave it exactly as you entered it.

Method 2: The ‘ (Apostrophe) Trick

Another quick workaround is using an apostrophe before entering your data. When you enter an apostrophe before your data, Excel treats your data as text and it doesn’t auto format.

For example, if you want to enter 1-2 (without it being converted to 2-Jan), you would type ‘1-2.

Method 3: Using Excel Formulas

If you are working with a lot of data, using Excel formulas can be a more efficient way to prevent auto formatting. The TEXT function comes in handy in such cases.

Here is an example of how you can use it:


This formula will convert the date in cell A1 into text in the “dd-mm-yyyy” format.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we have discussed three different methods to stop Excel from auto formatting dates. Depending on your specific needs and the amount of data you are working with, one method may be more suitable than the others. But regardless of the method you choose, you now have the knowledge to control how your data is formatted in Excel.