Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Changing Excel's Starting Date.

Changing Excel's Starting Date

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 15, 2016)

Excel allows you to choose which arbitrary date you use as the beginning point for serial numbers. In the PC world, this date is January 1, 1900. If you are working with Excel workbooks imported from the Macintosh environment, however, you will want to set the starting date to January 2, 1904—the date used on the Mac.

To set which of these two dates is used, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Calculation tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Calculation tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. The 1904 Date System check box controls which dating system is used. If the check box is not selected, then the January 1, 1900 starting date is used; if it is selected, then January 2, 1904 is used.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2413) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Changing Excel's Starting Date.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Correct Apostrophes

Word does a pretty good job of figuring out what apostrophes to use around your text. There may be times, however, when it ...

Discover More

Stopping Date Parsing when Opening a CSV File

Excel tries to make sense out of any data that you import from a non-Excel file. Sometimes this can have unwanted results. ...

Discover More

Changing Existing Highlighting

Need to change the color you previously used to highlight text in your document? You can use Word's Find and Replace tool to ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Disappearing Status Bar

Ever had your Excel status bar disappear unexpectedly? Here's some ideas on why this may be happening.

Discover More

Quickly Switching Between Spreadsheet Windows

Using the keyboard to switch between Excel spreadsheets.

Discover More

Inserting Cells

When developing worksheets, you often need to make room in your existing information for new information. One of the chief ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing