By default, Windows formats dates with slashes (3/23/16). However, if you want to use a different format for the date, such as using periods instead of slashes (3.23.16), that’s easy to change in Windows’ settings. You can also change the format of the time.
The format of the date and time affects the clock on the Taskbar, as shown above. It also affects programs you run in Windows, such as Excel, unless you override the format in the program itself. For example, you might want use slashes on the date shown on the Taskbar, but use periods in the dates you enter in Excel.
We’ll show you how to select a different format and how to create a custom format for the date and time in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. Accessing the basic choices for changing the date and time format is slightly different in each version of Windows, so we’ll discuss those procedures separately in the first three sections below. However, entering a custom format for the date and time is done the same way in all three Windows versions. So, follow the steps in one of the first three sections, depending on which version of Windows you are using, and then continue with the last section.
As an example in this article, we’ll show you how to change the date format, but changing the time format is a similar process, and we’ll mention where you can do that as well.
How to Access the Date and Time Format Settings ( in Windows 8.1 )
If you’re using Windows 8.1, the procedure for changing the format of the date and time is slightly different. To begin, make sure the Start screen is active. If you’re on the desktop, click the “Start” button in the lower-left corner of the screen.
On the Start screen, start typing “change the date” (without the quotes). The Search panel opens and results start to display. When you see “Change the date and time format” appear in the list with the settings icon, click on it.
This screen allows you to select different formats for the short and long date and short and long time. However, as with Windows 10, you are limited in the available choices. If you want to use periods in your dates, you will have to enter a custom date format. We’ll show you how to access the Control Panel screen you need to do this.
To access the Control Panel, we have to go back a couple of screens. So, click the back arrow button in the upper-left corner of the Change date and tine formats screen…
…and again on the Time and language screen.
At the bottom of the left pane on the PC Settings screen, click the “Control Panel” link. Note that there are several different ways you can access the Control Panel in Windows 8/8.1.
On the Control Panel, click the “Change date, time, or number formats” link under Clock, Language, and Region. This opens the Region dialog box, which you will use in the last section of this article to customize the date and time format.