Step by Step Guide on Excel VBA Code For Date Format

If you are someone who often works with dates in Excel, you know how important it is to have the correct date format. Excel has many built-in options for formatting dates, but sometimes those options don't quite meet your needs. That is where Excel VBA code comes in.

Excel VBA code for date format is a powerful tool that you can use to customize the format of your dates, extract information from dates, and perform other date-related tasks in Excel. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the process of using Excel VBA code to format dates in your spreadsheets efficiently.

Key Takeaways

  • Excel VBA code can be used to customize date formats in Excel
  • Understanding how Excel stores dates as serial numbers is crucial for working with dates in VBA code
  • Basic and advanced techniques can be used to format dates using VBA code in Excel
  • Adapting VBA code for international date formats is important for consistent results
  • Following best practices can improve the efficiency and readability of your VBA code for date formatting

Understanding Date Formats in Excel

Before we dive into the Excel VBA code for date formatting, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of how date formats work in Excel. This section will explain the different date formats available in Excel and how Excel stores dates as serial numbers.

The standard date format in Excel is MM/DD/YYYY, but you can customize the date format to suit your needs. Excel also stores dates as a serial number, starting from January 1, 1900, with that date assigned a serial number of 1. Each subsequent day is assigned a unique serial number, allowing you to perform date calculations with ease.

Custom date formats in Excel allow you to display dates in a variety of ways, including adding a time stamp to the date format. For example, you can use the format "MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS" to display both the date and time of an event.

Excel Date Format Examples:

Format Result
MM/DD/YYYY 01/01/2022
MMMM DD, YYYY January 01, 2022
MM/DD/YY HH:MM 01/01/22 12:00

Now that you have a better understanding of date formats in Excel, let's move on to setting up the VBA environment, which we will cover in section 3.

Setting up the VBA Environment in Excel

To start using VBA code to format dates in Excel, you first need to set up the VBA environment in Excel. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Step 1: Accessing the VBA Editor

The first step is to access the VBA editor in Excel. Go to the "Developer" tab on the Excel ribbon and click on the "Visual Basic" button. If you do not see the "Developer" tab, you need to enable it first from the Excel options.

Step 2: Enabling Settings

Once you are in the VBA editor, click on "Tools" in the menu bar and select "Options". In the "Editor" tab, make sure that "Require Variable Declaration" is checked. This will ensure that all variables are declared before they are used in your VBA code.

Step 3: Setting up a New VBA Project

Now, it's time to set up a new VBA project specifically for date formatting. Click on "File" in the menu bar and select "New Project". Name your new project, and choose the location where you want to save it. You can then start writing your VBA code for date formatting in this new project.

With the VBA environment in Excel set up, you're ready to start using VBA code to format dates in Excel spreadsheets.

Basic Date Formatting with VBA

In this section, we will take a closer look at the basics of formatting dates using VBA code. With these simple tips, you'll be able to change the date format for specific cells, apply formatting to entire columns, and even automate the formatting process for multiple worksheets. Follow these step-by-step instructions, and you'll be on your way to mastering basic date formatting with VBA in Excel.

Step 1: Select the Cells You Want to Format

Start by selecting the cells you want to format. You can select a single cell, a range of cells, or an entire column by clicking the column header. If you want to format multiple columns or worksheets, you can use VBA to automate the process, which we will cover later in this section.

Step 2: Open the VBA Editor

To start formatting your dates using VBA, you need to open the VBA editor. The easiest way to do this is to hold down the "Alt" key and press "F11" on your keyboard. This will take you directly to the editor.

Step 3: Add the Formatting Code

Once you're in the VBA editor, add the following line of code to your module:

Range("A1").NumberFormat = "dd/mm/yyyy"

Replace "A1" with the cell reference of the cell you want to format. You can also change the date format to match your preferred style.

Step 4: Run the Code

Now that you've added the formatting code, you can run it to see the changes in your spreadsheet. To do this, simply return to Excel and press "F5", or click "Run" in the VBA editor. Your chosen cells should now be formatted according to your specified date format.

That's it! These simple steps will help you master basic date formatting with VBA in Excel. For more advanced techniques, be sure to check out the next section.

Advanced Date Formatting Techniques

Now that we've covered the basics of date formatting with Excel VBA, let's take a deeper dive into advanced techniques.

One common task is extracting specific components from dates. For example, you may need to extract the month or year from a date for further analysis. This can easily be done with built-in VBA functions such as Month() or Year().

Another useful technique is handling date calculations. With VBA, you can easily add or subtract days, months, or years to a date, and even calculate the difference between two dates using the DateDiff() function.

Manipulating date formats based on custom requirements is also a powerful capability of Excel VBA. You can create your own custom date formats using VBA code, or even read date formats from external sources such as text files or databases.

Pro Tip: When working with complex date formatting tasks, it can be helpful to break down the process into smaller functions or subroutines. This not only makes your code more organized but also makes it easier to troubleshoot and modify in the future.

Working with International Date Formats

When it comes to handling date formats across multiple regions, internationalization is crucial. Excel VBA provides developers with the ability to adapt their code for international date formats, ensuring consistent results across diverse locales.

Here is a step-by-step guide for working with international date formats using Excel VBA:

Step 1: Understanding International Date Formats

Before adapting your VBA code, it's important to familiarize yourself with the different date formats used worldwide. Take the time to research and understand the various formats to ensure your code is adaptable and reliable.

Step 2: Identifying Locale

The next step is to identify the locale or region of the user's device. This information is useful in determining which date format to employ in your VBA code.

Step 3: Adapting Your VBA Code

With an understanding of international date formats and the user's locale, it's time to adapt your VBA code to support different date formats. Create conditional statements in your code to test for the user's locale and assign the appropriate date format based on that locale.

Here is an example of code for detecting locale and applying format:

'Detecting the user's locale

Dim userLocale As String

userLocale = Application.International(xlCountryCode)

'Applying the appropriate date format based on user locale

Select Case userLocale

Case 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 38, 39, 52

ActiveCell.NumberFormat = "dd/mm/yyyy"

Case Else

ActiveCell.NumberFormat = "mm/dd/yyyy"

End Select

Step 4: Testing Your Code

Before deploying your VBA code, it's critical to test it thoroughly to ensure the date formats are being displayed accurately for all locales. Try different date formats and locales to confirm your code is adaptable and reliable.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure consistent and accurate results when working with international date formats using Excel VBA.

Troubleshooting Date Formatting Issues

Despite the meticulous coding procedures, date formatting issues can still emerge while working with Excel VBA. Here, we've outlined common problems and provided troubleshooting tips to resolve any inconsistencies or errors due to formatting issues that could persist in your VBA code.

Problem: #NUM! Error is displayed after applying a specific date format

The #NUM! error typically appears when the specified date format is not compatible with the date value being formatted. To fix this issue, apply a date format that is compatible with your chosen date value. To ensure that the correct date format is being applied, try using the custom date format or standard date format option.

Problem: Inconsistent date formatting across multiple worksheets

If you're having trouble maintaining a consistent date format across multiple worksheets in VBA, a possible solution is to define a named range that identifies the cells in all worksheets affected by the date formatting issue. Next, design a VBA code that utilizes this named range, making it easier to maintain a consistent format across all worksheets. Alternatively, ensuring that all cells affected by the issue have the same formatting should also help fix the issue.

Problem: Excel is Changing Dates During Entry

When entering dates into Excel, the application automatically changes some entries to different date formats that may appear incompatible with your date values. To fix this issue, change the cell format to match the format of the correct data value. In addition, setting up data validation to ensure that only date entries that meet preset criteria can aid in resolving this issue.

Problem: Date Difference Calculations Produce Inconsistent Results

Inconsistent date difference calculations could arise due to incorrect or incompatible date formats. Ensure that all dates used for calculations are correctly formatted before attempting date subtraction. Additionally, to obtain more precise date differences, use the DATEDIF Excel function instead of performing calculations manually.

"VBA code for date formatting can be tricky, but anticipated troubleshooting can save you significant time and effort, helping you maintain accurate and consistent results."

Best Practices for Date Formatting in VBA

Following best practices is crucial when it comes to formatting dates in Excel VBA. By adopting efficient coding techniques and conventions, you can streamline your workflow, create more readable code, and minimize errors. Here are some key best practices for date formatting in VBA:

1. Use VBA Constants

When formatting dates in VBA, it's important to use the right constants for the date format. Excel VBA supports a range of built-in constants such as xlGeneralFormat, xlDMYFormat, and xlYMDFormat that help simplify your code and ensure consistent formatting.

2. Optimize Code Efficiency

Efficient code is key to effective date formatting in VBA. Use variables and arrays to store temporary data, instead of repeatedly accessing the same data and functions. Avoid using unnecessary loops or conditional statements, as they can slow down your code.

3. Format Date Cells before Running VBA Code

Before running your VBA code, ensure that the date cells are already formatted correctly. This helps to avoid conflicts between existing cell formatting and VBA code. In case you need to change the formatting of date cells, record a VBA macro to capture the desired changes and use the generated code in your VBA project.

4. Use Error Handling for Unexpected Date Formats

When working with multiple date formats, it's crucial to anticipate unexpected inputs. Consider using error handling routines in your VBA code, such as On Error Resume Next, to avoid runtime errors. You can also set up conditional statements to detect and handle incompatible date formats.

5. Document Your Code

Documenting your VBA code is essential to ensure clarity and readability. Use comments in your code to explain the purpose and function of each procedure and variable. This helps other users to quickly understand your code and make any necessary modifications.

By incorporating these best practices, you'll be able to write more concise, efficient, and effective VBA code for formatting dates in Excel. Remember to test your code thoroughly before deployment, and look for opportunities to optimize your code along the way.


As we conclude this guide, we hope that you have learned how to use Excel VBA code for date formatting. This powerful tool can save you countless hours, reduce errors, and enhance your overall productivity.

To recap, we started with an understanding of different date formats in Excel and how to set up the VBA environment. We then explored basic and advanced date formatting techniques, including working with international date formats. Additionally, we provided troubleshooting tips and best practices that can help you improve your date formatting skills.

By following the step-by-step guide, you can now confidently format dates in Excel VBA. With a little practice, you'll be able to automate and customize date formatting tasks that used to take up a significant amount of your time.

Don't hesitate to experiment and explore the full potential of date formatting in Excel VBA. Happy formatting!


What is Excel VBA code for date format?

Excel VBA code for date format refers to the programming language used in Microsoft Excel to manipulate and format dates in spreadsheets. With VBA code, you can change the date format, extract information from dates, perform calculations, and automate date formatting tasks.

How do date formats work in Excel?

In Excel, date formats determine how dates are displayed in cells. Excel supports various date formats, including the standard date format (mm/dd/yyyy), custom date formats (e.g., dd-mmm-yyyy), and international date formats. Additionally, Excel stores dates as serial numbers, with the starting point being January 1, 1900, and each subsequent day assigned a unique number.

How can I set up the VBA environment in Excel?

To set up the VBA environment in Excel, follow these steps: 1. Open Excel and navigate to the "Developer" tab. 2. Click on the "Visual Basic" button to access the VBA editor. 3. In the editor, enable the necessary settings, such as the "Trust access to the VBA project object model." 4. Create a new VBA project where you can write and run your VBA code for date formatting.

What are the basics of date formatting with VBA?

Basic date formatting with VBA involves using code to change the date format in specific cells or entire columns. You can specify the desired format using VBA's date format codes, such as "mm/dd/yyyy" or "dd-mmm-yyyy." Moreover, you can automate the date formatting process by creating macros or applying the formatting to multiple worksheets.

Are there advanced date formatting techniques in Excel VBA?

Yes, there are advanced date formatting techniques that you can utilize in Excel VBA. These techniques include extracting specific components from dates, such as day, month, or year, using functions like Day(), Month(), and Year(). Furthermore, you can perform calculations with dates, manipulate date formats based on custom requirements, and handle more complex date-related scenarios.

How do I work with international date formats in Excel VBA?

When working with international data, it's important to adapt your VBA code to support different date formats across regions. This involves considering regional settings, language settings, and ensuring consistent results. By using VBA functions like Format() or customizing the date format based on the user's locale, you can handle international date formats effectively and accurately.

What should I do if I encounter date formatting issues in my VBA code?

If you encounter date formatting issues in your VBA code, don't worry! Common problems may include incorrect interpretation of dates, unexpected results, or errors. To troubleshoot these issues, you can review the code logic, verify the date format codes, check the language and regional settings, and use debugging tools like breakpoints to identify and resolve any formatting inconsistencies or errors.

What are the best practices for date formatting in VBA?

To ensure efficient and reliable date formatting in VBA, it's advisable to follow best practices. This includes using descriptive variable names, commenting your code for clarity, using error handling techniques, and organizing your code into reusable functions or procedures. Additionally, consider user preferences, document your code for future reference, and regularly test and validate your date formatting routines.