I have an Excel document with a table linked to a table in sql server containing a datetime field. The datetimes display as yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss.sss and I'm unable to format the cells directly to a different format. Presumably, this is because the table definition overrides the cell format. Table and cell styles appear to only modify color and style, not formatting. How do I change an existing table?

  • Is the data connected? Does it constantly update? – Raystafarian Apr 16 '14 at 14:22
  • Yes, it's connected. I can refresh it with the button in the data tab. – Jeff Sacksteder Apr 16 '14 at 14:36

This is usually due to the specific Date datatype returned by SQL, which sounds like it is DATETIME2. DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME get formatted as a Custom format e.g. d/mm/yyyy h:mm (on an Australian machine).

If your Data Connection uses a Query, you could change the SQL code to use the CAST function to convert the date column to DATETIME, which should produce the desired result.

Alternatively you can add a column to the Excel table with a formula e.g.


This column can then be formatted manually in Excel.

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