Excel is not designed to automatically recognize date formats where the number of the day precedes the number of the month and year. For example, if you are in the U.S and are working with European Date formats, when you enter 5/04/2016 in Excel, you want it to represent April 5, 2016, rather than May 4, 2016.
Similarly, if you are working in Europe and are working with dates in American format, you will want the date to represent May 4, 2016 rather than April 5, 2016. In such situations, you can tweak the Windows Regional settings so that programs like Excel and Word use the date format as per your preference. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to change the regional date and time format to display the date you want to see in Excel.
How to Change the Regional Date and Time Format for Excel
If you are running Excel 2016 on Windows 10, here’s what you need to do:
1. Click the Windows Start button and on the Start menu, select Settings.
2. In the Windows 10 Settings screen, select Time & Language.
3. In the Date & time screen, scroll down to the Formats section and click the Change date and time formats link.
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4. In the next screen, you will see drop-down boxes where you can set the new formatting for the short and long dates.
5. Click the Short date drop-down and select the dd-MMM-yy format or MM/dd/ as required.
Close the window.
The next time you launch Excel 2016 and enter a date, it automatically formats dates as set by you. When your work is complete though, you have to go back to the Windows Settings and change the Short Date format back to its original Short Date format to continue working in the correct regional date format. You must also restart Excel for it to pick up on the changes.