Format Dates

Excel cannot recognize canonical date format. If the date format in the XML data is in canonical format, that is, YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss+HH:MM, you must apply a function to display it properly.

One option to display a date is to use the Excel REPLACE and SUBSTITUTE functions. This option retains the full date and timestamp. If you only require the date portion in the data (YYY-MM-DD), then another option is to use the DATEVALUE function. The following example shows how to use both options.

Example: Formatting a Canonical Date in Excel

Using the Employee by Department template and data from the first example, this procedure adds the HIRE_DATE element to the layout and displays the date as shown in Column E of the following figure:

To format the date:
  1. Add a column to the table in your layout for HIRE_DATE.
  2. In the table row where the data is to display, use the Template Builder to insert the HIRE_DATE field.

    If you are not using the Template Builder, copy and paste a sample value for HIRE_DATE from the XML data into the cell that is to display the HIRE_DATE field. For example: Copy and paste 1996-02-03T00:00:00.000-07:00 into the E8 cell. Assign the cell the defined name XDO_?HIRE_DATE? to map it to the HIRE_DATE element in the data. The inserted field is shown in the following figure:

    If you do nothing else, the HIRE_DATE value is displayed as shown. To format the date as "3-Feb-96", you must apply a function to that field and display the results in a new field.

  3. Insert a new Hire Date column. This is now column F, as shown in the following figure:
  4. In the new Hire Date cell (F8), enter one of the following Excel functions:
    • To retain the full date and timestamp, enter:

      =--REPLACE(SUBSTITUTE(E8,"T"," "),LEN(E8)-6,6,"")
    • To retain only the date portion (YYY-MM-DD), enter:


    Notice that in both functions, "E8" refers to the cell that contains the value to convert.

    After you enter the function, it populates the F8 cell as shown in the following figure:

  5. Apply formatting to the cell.

    Right-click the F8 cell. From the menu, select Format Cells. In the Format Cells dialog, select Date and the desired format, as shown in the following figure.

    The sample data in the F8 cell now displays as 3-Feb-96.

  6. Hide the E column, so that report consumers do not see the canonical date that is converted.

    The following figure shows the template with column E hidden: