How to Separate Date and Time in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Separating date and time in Excel can be a breeze once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re dealing with a list of timestamps, or you need to sort events by date or time, Excel has got you covered. With a few clicks and a bit of know-how, you can easily split date and time into separate columns, making your data more manageable and your life a whole lot easier.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Separate Date and Time in Excel

Before we dive into the process, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. By the end of these steps, you’ll have your original date and time data split into two separate columns: one for the date, and one for the time. This will allow you to sort, filter, and analyze your data more effectively.

Step 1: Select the cells containing date and time

Select the column that has the date and time values you want to separate.

When selecting cells, make sure you include all the rows with the data you want to separate. If you have a header, you can select that as well, but it’s not necessary for this process.

Step 2: Go to the Data tab and click on ‘Text to Columns’

Find the ‘Text to Columns’ tool in the Data tab on Excel’s ribbon.

‘Text to Columns’ is a versatile tool that can split a single column of text into multiple columns based on the criteria you specify. In this case, it will help us to separate date and time.

Step 3: Choose ‘Delimited’ and click ‘Next’

Select the ‘Delimited’ option in the wizard that appears and then proceed to the next step.

Delimiters are characters that separate your data. Since date and time are usually separated by a space, we will use that as our delimiter in the next step.

Step 4: Check the ‘Space’ delimiter and click ‘Next’

Tick the checkbox next to ‘Space’ because Excel recognizes the space between the date and the time as a delimiter.

If your date and time are separated by a different character, such as a comma or a slash, you would select that character instead. But most often, a space is what separates the two.

Step 5: Choose the destination for the separated data and click ‘Finish’

Decide where you want the new separated columns of data to appear and click ‘Finish’.

You can place the separated data right next to the original column by selecting the cell adjacent to the top cell of your selected range. This keeps your data neatly organized and easy to compare.

After completing these steps, you’ll find your date and time neatly arranged in separate columns. From here, you can format, sort, and analyze your data to your heart’s content.

Tips for Separating Date and Time in Excel

  • Make sure your original date and time data is in a format that Excel recognizes. This will ensure the separation process goes smoothly.
  • Always backup your data before using the ‘Text to Columns’ tool. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you accidentally overwrite something important.
  • If you have a mixture of formats in the same column, clean up the data first to ensure consistency before attempting to separate it.
  • Use the ‘Undo’ feature if something goes wrong during the separation process. Excel allows you to revert back to the last action you took.
  • Experiment with custom date and time formats after separation to better suit your preferences or reporting requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my date and time are not separated by a space?

If your date and time are not separated by a space, you will need to choose the delimiter that is present. For example, if they’re separated by a comma, you would check the ‘Comma’ delimiter in step 4.

Can I separate date and time if they’re in different formats?

Yes, you can separate date and time even if they’re in different formats, but you might need to clean up the data first to ensure that Excel recognizes the formats.

What happens if I choose the wrong destination in step 5?

If you choose the wrong destination, your separate columns of data might overwrite other data in your worksheet. Always double-check the destination cell before clicking ‘Finish’.

How do I format the separated date and time columns?

Right-click the cells in the separated columns, choose ‘Format Cells,’ and then select the desired date or time format from the available options.

Can I use ‘Text to Columns’ with other types of data?

Absolutely! ‘Text to Columns’ is a powerful tool that can be used to separate various types of data, not just date and time.


  1. Select the cells containing date and time.
  2. Go to the Data tab and click on ‘Text to Columns’.
  3. Choose ‘Delimited’ and click ‘Next’.
  4. Check the ‘Space’ delimiter and click ‘Next’.
  5. Choose the destination for the separated data and click ‘Finish’.


Mastering the art of separating date and time in Excel can significantly enhance your data management skills. By following the steps outlined above, you can transform a jumbled column of timestamps into an organized, user-friendly set of data. Remember that the ‘Text to Columns’ feature is just one of the many tools Excel offers to help you manipulate and make sense of your data. As you become more familiar with these tools, you’ll find that there’s almost no data challenge you can’t tackle. So go ahead, give it a try and watch as those once daunting lists of timestamps become neatly organized columns ready for analysis. Happy Excel-ing!

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