Prevent Excel From Automatically Formatting Data As Dates When Pasted

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 10/02/17 •  3 min read
Prevent Excel From Automatically Formatting Data As Dates When Pasted

What This VBA Code Does

Lars-Erik reached out to me via Facebook with an interesting code concept that would prevent Excel from automatically re-formatting data when pasted in. This is most prevalent when your data set includes hyphens or forward slashes which Excel assumes are associated with dates.

For example, if you were to try typing in “1-15” into your spreadsheet, Excel automatically formats this as “15-Jan” and even worse, changes the cell value altogether to 42750 (the numerical date value).

If you copy your data and paste it into Excel with the below macro, you won’t have to worry about any of your data being confused for dates by Excel.

VBA Code:

Sub PasteDataAsIs()
'PURPOSE: Paste Data From Clipboard Without Allowing Excel To Auto-Format
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/the-code-vault
'AUTHOR: Lars-Erik Sørbotten

Dim PasteArea As Range

'Optimize Code
  Application.ScreenUpdating = False

'Paste Data To Spreadsheet

'Store The Size Of The Data To A Variable
  Set PasteArea = Selection

'Change Paste Area Number Format To Not Reformat Data
  PasteArea.EntireColumn.NumberFormat = "@"

'Re-Paste Clipboard Data to Spreadsheet

End Sub

Using VBA Code Found On The Internet

Now that you’ve found some VBA code that could potentially solve your Excel automation problem, what do you do with it? If you don’t necessarily want to learn how to code VBA and are just looking for the fastest way to implement this code into your spreadsheet, I wrote an article (with video) that explains how to get the VBA code you’ve found running on your spreadsheet.

Getting Started Automating Excel

Are you new to VBA and not sure where to begin? Check out my quickstart guide to learning VBA. This article won’t overwhelm you with fancy coding jargon, as it provides you with a simplistic and straightforward approach to the basic things I wish I knew when trying to teach myself how to automate tasks in Excel with VBA Macros.

Also, if you haven’t checked out Excel’s latest automation feature called Power Query, I have put together a beginner’s guide for automating with Excel’s Power Query feature as well! This little-known built-in Excel feature allows you to merge and clean data automatically with little to no coding!

How Do I Modify This To Fit My Specific Needs?

Chances are this post did not give you the exact answer you were looking for. We all have different situations and it’s impossible to account for every particular need one might have. That’s why I want to share with you: My Guide to Getting the Solution to your Problems FAST! In this article, I explain the best strategies I have come up with over the years to get quick answers to complex problems in Excel, PowerPoint, VBA, you name it

I highly recommend that you check this guide out before asking me or anyone else in the comments section to solve your specific problem. I can guarantee that 9 times out of 10, one of my strategies will get you the answer(s) you are needing faster than it will take me to get back to you with a possible solution. I try my best to help everyone out, but sometimes I don’t have time to fit everyone’s questions in (there never seem to be quite enough hours in the day!).

I wish you the best of luck and I hope this tutorial gets you heading in the right direction!

Keep Learning

Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.

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