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Whatever the reason, you can quickly and easily change the date format in Microsoft Excel.

You can choose to change the date format for a specific set of data within an Excel sheet, or you can change the standard date format for your entire computer in order to apply that format to all future Excel sheets.

This is handy if you have a very long formula because it enables you to “break up” the formula so that it appears on multiple lines.

To create a line break within a formula, press Alt Enter.

→ Comparison formulas also make use of Excel’s logical functions, so see “Adding Intelligence with Logical Functions,” p. The two types of formulas that I discussed in the previous sections, arithmetic formulas and comparison formulas, calculate or make comparisons and return values. Text formulas use the ampersand (&) operator to work with text cells, text strings enclosed in quotation marks, and text function results.

One way to use text formulas is to concatenate text strings. → For other uses of text formulas, see Chapter 7, “Working with Text Functions.” The reference operators combine two cell references or ranges to create a single joint reference.

Select the date style you want from the list of types.

Preview the formatting option in the Sample section above the list.

Click on the dialog box launcher in the Number section, the small arrow that points down and to the right at the bottom right corner of the section.

This brings up the Format Cells dialog box with the Number section preselected. Click on the "Date" option in the category list on the left side of the Format Cells dialog box.

This kind of file preparation becomes especially useful if you share files with colleagues who enter data but don't know Excel well enough to set up files.

Whether you work alone or with others, take the time to make your spreadsheets easy to use. Click on the "Home" tab in the Microsoft Excel Ribbon.

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