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: Replacing Dashes with Periods.

Replacing Dashes with Periods

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 18, 2017)


If you have a need to normalize the appearance of your data, you might want to replace any dashes in a text string with periods. For instance, if you have a phone number such as "123-555-1212" you might want to change it to "123.555.1212". This is easy to do using the SUBSTITUTE function:


The result is that any dashes appearing in the string in cell A7 are replaced with periods.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2995) 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: Replacing Dashes with Periods.

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. ...


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What is four less than 8?

2017-11-30 05:55:12


Great help, thanks a lot Allen :-)

2017-03-18 22:26:27


I want add dash in a coloumn which consists of clients name ..

clients name is as follows

it should looks like


after last two words i need to add an dash.
Plese help me to sort it out,


2014-11-18 09:08:32


You have to have your cells formated as "text" before making the replacement, in order to prevent Excel to make "intelligent" assumptions...

2014-09-02 14:36:05


I am trying something similar to Jasmin, but instead I am trying to change periods into dashes "1234-12.1" to "1234-12-1". When I use the search and replace in Excel 2013 it changes the format to a date "1234/12/1". Is there a way that I can do this easily without having to do it one by one? VB Posssibly?

2012-06-25 09:58:14



If you change 123-4500 into 123.4500, then Excel treats it as a number where the trailing zeroes are not significant. If you want those zeroes to be displayed, format the cells so that four digits after the decimal point are always displayed.


2012-06-21 13:25:50


The find-replace doesn't always work to replace dashes with periods. I have a number that ends in 1 or 2 zeros (ex. 123-4500), and if you change the dashes into periods, its REMOVES the zeros at the end if the number ends in 1 or more zeros. How do I keep all zeros in tact??? PLEASE HELP! Thanks.

2011-12-06 12:09:06


or you may just use the find and replace command. select all cells that you want to replace. select the find and replace command. put the dash character "-" in the find what box, and in the replace with box, put the period character ".". then select replace all. thanks.

2011-11-27 14:25:29


This is also possible using the Find & Replace feature (ctrl+H). Saves having to type in a formula and copy/paste/values.

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