In Excel Fix a Number Shown as a Date

Excel Fix Number Shown As DateA common problem which chefs have when using Excel for recipe costing or actually for any activity in Excel is that numbers will tend to appear as a date rather than as a number. This is especially true when you are using fractions like 1/4 of a tsp. This short video shows how to fix a number shown as a date in Excel.

The video is self explanatory but here is the process to fix a number which is appearing as a date:

  • click on the cell which needs fixing
  • go to the Excel Tool Bar at the top of the sheet
  • in the Number Format area click on the drop down arrow
  • select either General or Fraction
  • go back to the cell with the issue and enter the number you want
  • done!


Why does Excel display numbers as dates?

Most cells in Excel automatically have a generic Number Format setting of General. If you are trying to enter a number such as 1/4 and your enter the decimal .25 then it recognizes it as a number. But if you type it in as the fraction 1/4 (instead of as the decimal .25) then Excel assumes that you mean 1/4/2018 (or whatever the current year is) and will convert that cell to a Number Format called Custom and will display 1/4 as 4-Jan.

But, if you have the cell set to Fraction in the Number Format area then you can enter numbers as fractions or decimals and Excel will accept it and properly display it as a number and not as a date.


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