How to Change the Google Sheets Date Format: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the date format in Google Sheets is a straightforward process that can make your data more readable and easier to understand. You’ll need to access the menu options, select the correct format, and apply it to your selected cells. Let’s dive into the steps to get this done!

Step by Step Tutorial on Changing the Google Sheets Date Format

Before we begin, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve. We want to change the date format in Google Sheets to suit our preference, whether that’s day-month-year, month-day-year, or even a completely custom format. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Select the Cells

Start by selecting the cells that contain the dates you want to change.

Selecting the cells is important because it tells Google Sheets exactly where you want the new date format to be applied. Make sure you’ve selected all the relevant cells before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Open the Format Menu

Next, click on the “Format” menu at the top of the page.

The Format menu is where all the magic happens. It’s the gateway to changing not just date formats, but a whole host of other formatting options for your spreadsheet.

Step 3: Choose Number

From the Format menu, hover over “Number” to open the submenu.

The Number submenu contains various options, including currency, percentage, and, of course, date formats. It’s your one-stop-shop for all things number-related.

Step 4: Select the Date Format

Finally, choose your desired date format from the list of options.

Google Sheets offers several default date formats, but if none of those suit your needs, don’t worry! You can always create a custom format by selecting “Custom date and time.”

After you’ve completed these steps, the date format for your selected cells will be updated. The new format will be instantly visible, and you can adjust it further if needed.

Tips for Changing the Google Sheets Date Format

  • Tip 1: Always double-check that you’ve selected the correct cells before changing the format.
  • Tip 2: Use the “Custom date and time” option for more control over your date format.
  • Tip 3: Remember that changing the date format doesn’t change the actual data, just how it’s displayed.
  • Tip 4: If you’re working with a large dataset, consider using the “Format painter” tool to quickly apply the same format across multiple cells.
  • Tip 5: Keep your audience in mind and choose a date format that will be easily understood by everyone who uses your spreadsheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create my own date format if I don’t like the options provided?

Yes, you can create a custom date format that suits your unique needs by using the “Custom date and time” option.

Will changing the date format affect how my data is sorted?

No, changing the date format only affects how the dates are displayed, not the underlying data or its sorting order.

What happens if I apply the wrong date format?

If you apply the wrong date format, simply repeat the steps and choose the correct format. It’s a quick fix!

Can I apply different date formats to different cells in the same spreadsheet?

Absolutely! You can customize the date format for each cell individually if needed.

Is there a way to change the default date format for all new sheets?

Currently, Google Sheets uses the default date format based on the locale of your Google Account. You’ll need to change the format manually for each new sheet.


  1. Select the cells containing the dates.
  2. Open the Format menu.
  3. Hover over Number to open the submenu.
  4. Choose the desired date format.


Changing the date format in Google Sheets is a simple yet powerful way to customize your spreadsheet to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re preparing a report, organizing a project timeline, or just keeping track of important dates, having the correct date format can make all the difference. It’s about making your data crystal clear for anyone who lays eyes on it – including yourself.

Remember, it’s not just about making your spreadsheet look pretty. It’s about clarity, accuracy, and making sure that everyone is on the same page – quite literally. And with the ability to create custom date formats, you’re truly in control of how you present your data. So go ahead, dive into your Google Sheets, and tweak those dates until they’re just right. And who knows? You might just find yourself becoming a Google Sheets date format guru in no time!

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