Default Date System for Excel for Mac Version 16.76

Copper Contributor

My version of Excell defaults to the 1900 Date System. However, because I have been an Excel for Mac user since before 2008, all of my files use the 1904 Date System. I am trying to change the default Date System to the 1904 Date System without any success. My research indicated to select Excel, Preferences, Formulas and Lists, Calculations, and then check the 1904 Date System box. This is not working. I believe it is not working because once I click on Excel, Preferences, a new spreadsheet appears, and the selection of the 1904 Data System applies only to this new file. The default in Preferences doesn't change.


Is there a way to change Excel's default, or do I always need to remember to change the Date System for all new files?


Jim Robson

3 Replies


Changing the default date system in Excel for Mac can be a bit tricky, and the process might vary based on the version you are using. You are correct that the "1904 Date System" checkbox under Excel Preferences seems to apply only to new workbooks created after the change. Unfortunately, Excel for Mac does not provide a straightforward way to change the default date system for all new files in one step.

However, you can consider the following approaches:

  1. Create a Template: You can create a template workbook that has the 1904 Date System enabled. Save this template as an Excel Template (with the ".xltx" extension). Then, when you need to create a new workbook, use this template instead of the default blank workbook. This way, new files created from this template will automatically have the 1904 Date System enabled.
  2. AppleScript or Automator: You might be able to use AppleScript or Automator to automate the process of enabling the 1904 Date System. These tools can perform repetitive tasks for you, and you could potentially create a script or workflow that runs when Excel launches and sets the date system to 1904.
  3. Use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications): Although Excel for Mac does not support all the VBA functionality available in Excel for Windows, you might be able to use VBA to set the 1904 Date System by creating an Auto_Open macro that runs when Excel is launched. However, this approach might require some scripting knowledge and might be more involved.

Remember that software features and capabilities can change with updates, so it's a good idea to check the most recent documentation or community discussions related to your specific Excel version. If this functionality is crucial to your workflow, you might also explore third-party tools or consider keeping a note to remind yourself to adjust the date system for new files manually.

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