Have you ever exported an Excel file from a program and the formatting was all off? Even worse, when you try to fix the formatting, Excel won’t let you. One of the most common problems I run up against is date time formatting issues when I am dealing with Excel file that originated somewhere else.
The Problem: Date Time Format cannot be Changed
Here we have an Excel file in which one of the columns contains a date time stamp. The problem is, we do not care about the time, we only want the date. No matter what we do though, we can not seem to alter the date format.
None of the standard fixes help here. Formatting the cells, copying cells to a new sheet, and even using Special Paste results in a date time stamp we still cannot alter.
The Solution: Text to Columns
First things first – Make sure to select the date column in question.
From the Ribbon Bar, go to the Data tab. You will see an Icon labeled Text to Columns.
We are going to use Fixed width as the elements in the date time column all maintain a fixed size.
Hit next. Excel will place bars in the data preview window to show you how the data will be segmented. **Notice Date, Time, and AM/PM each occupy a separate column now.
Since everything looks good, we will hit next.
Now highlight the date column, select Date from the Column data format box and chose your preferred date format from the drop down menu.
For the next two columns, since we do not not need them in this example, we will just highlight each column and select Do not import column (skip)
Now hit Finish and here are the results.