VBA Format Date: Convert It to the Type You Want!

Countdown Timer and Date, Calendar ScoreboardVBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. It is different from Visual Basic. Microsoft came up with this programming feature to use with the Microsoft Office software suite. It can be used to create programs to be run on Microsoft Excel, Outlook or other components of the MS Office suite. In this intermediate level tutorial, we walk you through VBA Format function for date and time. VBA Format function takes an expression, a date or number value and converts the same into a string. We assume that you know the basic concepts of MS Excel and Visual Basic for Applications. You can learn more about VBA in this excellent course, or of you’re in a hurry, you can take this 24hr VBA trainer course.

How to Assign VBA Date Value to a Variable

You can set the format in any version of Microsoft Excel starting from Excel 2000 to Excel version 2013. You can assign any date format as a value to a variable with the date data type in Excel VBA. However, ensure that values are put between simple hash (#) tags. Here VBA converts the value to a “Date” that can be used in comparisons and other types of statements. The following examples show this:

D1 = #March 24, 2014#
D1 = #3/24/2014#
D1 = #03/24/2014#

VBA will interpret the above statements to the date “March 24, 2014.” Before we move on, to learn more about how you can use VBA with MS Excel, you may want to try out this primer course; or just crash through our VBA tutorial to brush up your understanding.

VBA Format Function

Microsoft Excel Format function accepts the date expression and returns it as a formatted string. The syntax of Format date function looks like this

Format (expression, [format, [firstdayofweek, [firstweekofyear] ] ] )

Let’s take a closer look at the parameters.

  1. Expression stands for the value to be formatted.
  2. Format stands for the format to be applied to the expression. It is optional. In VBA Format Date function you have the option to either define your own format or use some of the MS Excel predefined format.
  3. Firstdayofweek specifies the first day of the week. If it is not declared, the Format function assumes that Sunday is the first day of the week. This parameter is optional.
  4. Firstweekofyear is the value that specifies the first week of the year. However, if this parameter is not declared, then the Format function assumes that the first week begins from January 1.

The table given below displays some of the Excel predefined date format.


General DateDisplays date depending  upon the system settings
Long DateDisplays date  depending upon the system’s long date setting
Medium DateDisplays date depending upon the system’s medium date setting
Short DateDisplays date depending upon the system’s short date setting
Long TimeDisplays time depending upon the system’s long time setting
Medium TimeDisplays time depending upon the system’s medium time setting
Short TimeDisplays time depending upon the system’s short time setting






The table given below contains the values the parameter “firstdayoftheweek” can take up in your VBA programs.



vbUseSystem0Uses the NLS API (National Language Support  Application Program Interface) setting
VbSunday1Sunday (default, if parameter is not declared)

The table below lists the possible values of the optional parameter “Firstweekofyear that you can use in your VBA programs. Take a look

vbUseSystem0Uses the NLS API setting
vbFirstJan11The week that contains January 1
vbFirstFourDays2The first week that has at least 4 days in the year
vbFirstFullWeek3The first full week of the year

Here are a few examples of Format function for Date in Excel VBA to make this function more clear.

1. Format(#24/03/2014#, “Short Date”)    would return ’24/03/2014′

2. Format(#24/03/2014#, “Long Date”)     would return ‘March 24, 2014’

3. Format(#24/03/2014#, “yyyy/mm/dd”)    would return ‘2014/03/24’

We suggest that you work out more examples of your own on  date function format. That’ll help you get more comfortable with the various options.  This course with Mr Excel can help you get a good workout with Excel VBA examples.

User Defined Format Function for date and time

Note that you can also use some pre-defined variants of the Format function for date and time.  The syntax of that looks like this

Format (expression, style)

The table below shows the user-defined Format function for date and time. Read through carefully

Format (Now, “M”)Displays the current month and date
Format (Now, “MM”)Displays the current month in double digits.
Format (Now, “MMM”)Displays  the abbreviated name of the current month
Format (Now, “MMMM”)Displays the full name of the current month.
Format (Now, “dd/MM/yyyy”)Displays the current date in the day/month/year format.
Format (Now, “MMM,d,yyyy”)Displays the current date in the Month, Day, Year Format
Format (Now, “h:mm:ss tt”)Displays the current time  in the format hour:minute:second and show am/pm
Format (Now, “MM/dd/yyyy  h:mm:ss)Displays current date and time  in the format hour:minute:second

Let’s take a closer look at the user-defined format function for date and time using a simple VBA program.

Sub Newbutton_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click, Button2.Click, Button3.Click
Label1.Text = Format(Now, "M")
Label2.Text = Format(Now, "MM")
Label3.Text = Format(Now, "MMM")
Label4.Text = Format(Now, "MMMM")
Label5.Text = Format(Now, "dd/MM/yyyy")
Label6.Text = Format(Now, "MMM,d,yyyy")
Label7.Text = Format(Now, "h:mm:ss tt")
Label8.Text = Format(Now, "MM/dd/yyyy h:mm:ss tt")
End Sub

When you run this program, it will display the current system date in different formats.

Label1.Text will display March 24
Label2.Text will display 03
Label3.Text will display Mar
Label4.Text will display March
Label5.Text will display 24/03/2014
Label6.Text will display Mar,24,2014
Label7.Text will display 12:49:23 PM
Label8.Text will display 03/24/2014 12:49:23 PM

Characters supported by VBA Date Function

VBA Date functions supports these characters to display date and time. It’s quite a long list, so check out the table below!

m8Month (numerical without zeros)
mm08Month (numerical with zeros)
mmmSepMonth (abbreviated text)
mmmmSeptemberMonth (full-length text)
d6Day (numerical without zeros)
dd06Day (numerical with zeros)
dddWedDay (abbreviated text)
ddddWednesdayDays (full-length text)
yy14Year (last 2 digits)
yyyy2014Year (4 digits)
h9Hours without zeros (0-23)
hh09Hours with zeros (00-23)
n7Minutes without zeros (0-59)
nn07Minutes with zeros (00-59)
s5Seconds without zeros (0-59)
ss05Seconds with zeros (00-59)


Let’s use an example to help you to understand the above table better.

Sub date_and_time()
date_example = Now()
Range("C1") = Format(date_example, "mm.dd.yy")
Range("C2") = Format(date_example, "d mmmmyyyy")
Range("C3") = Format(date_example, "mmmm j, yyyy")
Range("C4") = Format(date_example, "ddddd")
Range("C5") = Format(date_example, "mmmm-yy")
Range("C6") = Format(date_example, "mm.dd.yyyyhh:mm")
Range("C7") = Format(date_example, "m.d.yy h:mm AM/PM")
Range("C8") = Format(date_example, "h\Hmm")
End Sub

In this program we assign the system date and time through the now() to the variable date_example. After the execution of the program, the cells will contain the following values

C1 will contain 03.24.14
C2 will contain 24 March 2014
C3 will contain March 24 2014
C4 will contain Mon 24
C5 will contain March-14
C6 will contain 03.24.2014 15:04
C7 will contain 3.24.14 15:04 PM
C8 will contain 15H04

Given below is an example of using date function to calculate your age. We assume that you have basic programming knowledge. If not please refer our basic tutorial on VBA programming.

Calculating Age In VBA

Function Age(Date1 As Date, Date2 As Date) As String
Dim Year1 As Integer
Dim Month_1 As Integer
Dim Day1 As Integer
Dim Temp As Date
Temp = DateSerial(Year(Date2), Month(Date1), Day(Date1))
Year1 = Year(Date2) - Year(Date1) + (Temp > Date2)
Month1 = Month(Date2) - Month(Date1) - (12 * (Temp > Date2))
Day1 = Day(Date2) - Day(Date1)
If Day1 < 0 Then
Month_1 = Month_1 - 1
Day1 = Day(DateSerial(Year(Date2), Month(Date2) + 1, 0)) + Day1 + 1
End If
Age = Year1 &“years "& Month_1 & " months " & Day1 & " days"
End Function

This program accepts two parameters Date1 and Date2. Date1 is the year of your birth and Date2 is the current date. In the end, you get your age in terms of years, months and days.

Like you’ve just seen, the Format function for date and time comes in variety of options. You can choose the format that you want to display or use in your programs. As always practice makes perfect. Do try these examples for yourself. If you’d like to get more hands on with VBA before  you proceed, this course can help you.  Once you’re ready to step it up a notch, you can try out this Ultimate VBA course. Let us know how it goes!