Stop Excel from automatically converting certain text values to dates

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Does anyone happen to know if there is a token I can add to my csv for a certain field so Excel doesn't try to convert it to a date?

I'm trying to write a .csv file from my application and one of the values happens to look enough like a date that Excel is automatically converting it from text to a date. I've tried putting all of my text fields (including the one that looks like a date) within double quotes, but that has no effect.

I have found that putting an '=' before the double quotes will accomplish what you want. It forces the data to be text.

eg. ="2008-10-03",="more text"

EDIT (according to other posts): because of the Excel 2007 bug noted by Jeffiekins one should use the solution proposed by Andrew: "=""2008-10-03"""

Stop Excel from automatically converting certain text values to dates , Press Ctrl + 1 (the 1 in the row of numbers above the QWERTY keys) to open Format Cells. To explain the problem, Excel automatically converts certain text values to numbers or dates. For instance, if there is a value like 10-12-2007 in a CSV file, even if you want it to be a text, excel will convert this into a date. Another example would be, if you enter a value like 00080, it would be converted to a number and displayed as 80.

Stop Excel from Converting Text to Number or Date format when , I have found that putting an '=' before the double quotes will accomplish what you want. It forces the data to be text. eg. ="2008-10-03",="more  I'm trying to write a .csv file from my application and one of the values happens to look enough like a date that Excel is automatically converting it from text to a date. I've tried putting all of my text fields (including the one that looks like a date) within double quotes, but that has no effect.

Working off of Jarod's solution and the issue brought up by Jeffiekins, you could modify

"May 16, 2011"

to

"=""May 16, 2011"""

Excel keeps changing my numbers into dates., A comma-separated values (CSV) file is a delimited text file that uses a The automatic transformation of the data format may be undesirable in some cases. To prevent Excel from automatically changing the data format to number/date  Stop Excel from Converting Text to Number or Date format when Importing a CSV file Option 1: Rename.csv to.txt and then open in Excel To prevent Excel from automatically changing the data format to number/date format, you can rename the.csv file to.txt. Then open the.txt file from the File menu in Microsoft Excel.

I had a similar problem and this is the workaround that helped me without having to edit the csv file contents:

If you have the flexibility to name the file something other than ".csv", you can name it with a ".txt" extension, such as "Myfile.txt" or "Myfile.csv.txt". Then when you open it in Excel (not by drag and drop, but using File->Open or the Most Recently Used files list), Excel will provide you with a "Text Import Wizard".

In the first page of the wizard, choose "Delimited" for the file type.

In the second page of the wizard choose "," as the delimiter and also choose the text qualifier if you have surrounded your values by quotes

In the third page, select every column individually and assign each the type "Text" instead of "General" to stop Excel from messing with your data.

Hope this helps you or someone with a similar problem!

Stop Excel from automatically converting text values to dates , Sometimes importing data into spreadsheets gives you headaches. tends to wrongly assume that a certain number represents a date and changes it. Open Excel; BEFORE pasting your data, preformat the cells as text. Excel documentation has some additional tips on how to avoid that automatic change of numbers:. Another trick, especially for fractional numbers without an integer part, is adding a 0 and a space. This combination can act like the integer part and prevent the value from changing into a number. Also Excel removes zeroes and spaces automatically. How to stop excel from changing numbers to dates from SpreadsheetWeb on Vimeo. from SpreadsheetWeb.

WARNING: Excel '07 (at least) has a(nother) bug: if there's a comma in the contents of a field, it doesn't parse the ="field, contents" correctly, but rather puts everything after the comma into the following field, regardless of the quotation marks.

The only workaround I've found that works is to eliminate the = when the field contents include a comma.

This may mean that there are some fields that are impossible to represent exactly "right" in Excel, but by now I trust no-one is too surprised.

How to Stop Excel from Changing Numbers to Dates Automatically, Excel has some really smart features that can be really useful in many cases (and Sometimes, Excel automatically changes these numbers to dates. in the US and using the US date format), Excel changes the cell value to 44012, which The only way to stop Excel from changing these numbers (or text string) into dates  In my case I had values such as "1 - 2" & "7 - 12" within the CSV enclosed correctly within inverted commas, this automatically converts to a date within excel, if you try subsequently convert it to just plain text you would get a number representation of the date such as 43768.

How to stop excel from changing numbers to dates automatically, To explain the problem, Excel automatically converts certain text values to numbers or dates. For instance, if there is a value like 10-12-2007 in  The only way to deal with it is to stop numbers converting to date. This happens mostly when you enter alphanumeric values in a particular format but isn’t limited to just that.  For example, if you write 02-02 in a cell, t will automatically be recognized as February 2nd.

How to stop Excel from Auto-formatting and making it work like a , Excel changes some numbers or strings to dates to be “user-friendly” format to Text, Excel will stop guessing what the entered value might be  Convert text date/number string to standard date. When you copy date from other sources to Excel, the date maybe change to text format, or for convinient, you may type date as number string directly, such as 20160504. In thses case, you may want to convert thses nonstandard dates to the standard date formatting mm/dd/yyyy.

Stop excel from converting copy-pasted number/text values to date , This will prevent Excel from automatically formatting those cells as numbers, and the Data Import wizard, and set each column type to "Text" instead of "General". value (numbers, dates, anything) so it can be used with formulas (as plain text zero or convert the long number to scientific notation, or both, when imported.

Comments
  • Yeah, like when a file with 10000 usernames has one such as "april25", that gets converted to a date, and eventually gets processed as "apr-25", resulting in a "username not found" error, because you didn't expect Excel to be converting a single value to a date, 4000 records into the file, while leaving the rest text. What lame CSV reading code; really, isn't it supposed to guess the type based on the first X records and stick with it? Or leave it all text. If I want it formatted as "general", I can pick that later. By assuming "general" right from the start, it risks text data corruption.
  • I had the issue when doing copy and paste. For all searching the solution, select the target column, set it to a string/text format, then copy source and do a special paste (right-click) with 'values only'. Preserves values, no date formatting.
  • I just want to add that I consider this behavior of Excel to be a serious flaw. What about all the people that don't have the luxury to change the contents of the csv file prior to importing to Excel? Or what about people who don't realize this problem until after making lots of other changes to the CSV file? It makes working with CSV files in Excel a mess.
  • Are you using DatatableJS? Because I already know how to do this with that API. If you need this you can found it here : stackoverflow.com/a/36142043/4241058
  • All these solutions to use File -> Open -> Import work ok for us because we know what we're doing, but it is useless for the other 99.5% of the world who don't understand navigating the filesystem from /within/ an application. They see a file, to use it they double-click on it. I've spent 25 years teaching people how to use office applications and writing code that generates data for said office applications, and using the /application/ to look for the file to use is completely beyond almost everybody.
  • I'm accepting this answer because 1) my csv file will only be used by Excel, and 2) this is for accounting and can't have a ' at the beginning, and 3) I don't want them to have to do an import. I just want them to open the csv.
  • Great! But because of the Excel 2007 bug use the solution proposed by Andrew: "=""2008-10-03""". Updated the post.
  • This doesn't work for me in Excel 2010 if the text is too long :(
  • The reason this works is because when Excel sees the character "=" it decides to evaluate the expression following it. In this case the expression is simply a string literal and the value of a string literal is the content of the string. Thus the quotation marks magically disappear. You can put =1+2+3 and get the value 6 after CSV import. The formula itself is not destroyed in the import process.
  • There is a big problem with this approach - if you open the file in excel and edit and then save and open again all these " disappear
  • I got correct leading zeroes after adding \t to my separation character ; ... damn you MS Office, why did this have to take me more than 2 minutes to figure out?
  • Adding \t at the end of all values does indeed the trick. It's a hacky workaround, but in practice it works fine. I prefer this to the formula trick with the equal '=', because the former might be difficult to work with in other tools.
  • There are not enough upvotes that can express my gratitude for you. Search and replace in notepad++ ',' to '\t,\t' (to accommodate for first and last columns as well) works like a charm. Thanks.
  • In my MySQL query (for CSV output through PHP), I used CONCAT('\t', column_name). Also did the trick. Thanks!