Remove Date Formatting in Excel

Excel offers multiple ways to format data. One of them is the date format. If you add a date into a cell and then remove it, the formatting in this cell is remembered as a date, even if you enter a number.

Another possibility to find date formatting is the previous choice of date formatting, before entering any cells.

Try this experiment. Enter the following formula into cell A2.

It will insert the current date into a cell.

Now try to enter a number into this cell. Let it be 1000.

The number 1000 is the number of days that passed since 1/1/1900. That’s why it gave us this date.

Remove date formatting

But that is not what we meant. We wanted to insert 1000, not 09/26/1902.

We don’t have to enter the number a second time, we just have to format the cell differently. There are a few ways to do it.

Format Painter

To use this method, click any cell that wasn’t formatted before, and navigate to Home >> Clipboard >> Format Painter. Click the cell with the date, at it will remove the date formatting and apply the general formatting.


Another way to quickly remove the date formatting is to choose one from the Ribbon. Select the cell and navigate to Home >> Number.

From the dropdown menu, choose General formatting.

Format Cells

The third option to remove formatting is to format cells.

You can access this option using both ways:

  • Right-click and then Format Cells.
  • The Ctrl + 1 shortcut.

Both methods open the Format Cells window, with the Number tab opened by default.

Because we clicked a cell with a date, the default category on the list is Date.

Change it to General.

On the right side, in the Sample area, there is a preview of how the value will look after confirmation. This number is what we want, so click OK to confirm.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.