Stop auto correction and auto formatting

Excel likes to correct text that I type and to turn the text into dates, e.g. "2/2013" is turned into "Feb 2013". Unfortunately I'm not entering a date but something that could be viewed as a date, but it is in fact something else. So I want to turn off this auto formatting.

I know that it is possible to format cells as 'text'. I have a lot of different spreadsheets and formatting hundreds or thousands of rows and columns seems like a waste of time.

I know that it is possible to a add a leading apostrophe. This is a lot of extra typing. In addition I sometimes forget to add the apostrophe in front of my text. So this solution results in extra work because I have to proofread the spreadsheet after I have entered the numbers making sure that I added the apostrophe to each cell.

I have used Excel for over 17 years now and have never ever needed the auto format feature. Is it possible to turn this feature off on my computer? I want to to turn it off in the settings dialog or the windows registry on time . The result should be that for all spreadsheets I ever edit on my computer the feature will be turned off. There should be no auto formatting ever on my computer for cells formatted as general.

I've searched the web and found hundreds of forum entries by people wishing to do the same, but no solution.

Is it possible or do I have to live with the auto format?

If it is not possible, where can I submit a feature request?

Question Info

Last updated September 19, 2019 Views 13,278 Applies to:

Thank you for your feedback. The short answer is - no at this time. The feature is designed with the assumption in most cases, when people type date-like strings (or time-like, or number-like), they would want them to be typed as that data type. Auto-formatting does more than formatting - it determines the type of the data, and that in turns typically gives better experience and functionality around the inpout that you typed (e.g. you can do arithmetic on numbers; you can sort dates by their calendar order; you cannot do all of this on text). For the minority of cases, like yours, where the date-like input is actually not dates, there are the two options that you mention. Formatting cells as text can be done in bulk (entire ranges, columns, rows or sheets), so should not be very time consuming, although of course it does take an extra step.


Although this feature is not currently available in Excel, Microsoft is committed to continuously improving your experience with our products. This feature is now in our list of desired features.

Danny Khen

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