Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Google Sheets: When It Thinks It’s a Date

Google Sheets date
Google Sheets: When It Thinks It’s a Date

Google Sheets date

Change From a Date Format

We’ve all been there. We type a value into a cell in a spreadsheet that is NOT a date, but it formats it as a date. How do you make it stop being a date?Formats as a date

Format Menu

Click on the cell (or range of cells) that is giving you funky formatting and use the Format menu and click on “Number.”
Format menu

This gives you a plethora of options for how you can format your data.
Choose Plain Text

Plain Text

Likely the solution to your problem is to select the formatting option of “Plain text.”

Notice that when you type a number into a spreadsheet cell it aligns right. Text aligns left. Notice in the example below the 3 number values are to the right of the cell and the words I typed are to the left.
text aligns left

After selecting a formatting of “Plain text” on the range of values, all of the values are now aligned left. Because the spreadsheet no longer considers them numbers! They are now text!
plain text makes them text instead of numbers

Notice for my 6/2 value it was showing as a date, but now it is no longer being treated as a date.
Not a date, it is text

When I switch the 6/2 value into a “Number” format, things get really crazy!
What happened

Changing numbers as text to a number converts it to DateValue. If you’re scratching your head on that one, good news! DateValue is not something you need to know! If something wacky like this happens just use Control Z (undo) to put it back and change it to “Plain text.”

Long Story Short

Format to Plain Text and probably your date problems will be fixed!

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