If you type a numeric value into Excel that looks like a date, Excel will automatically convert the value to a date.

For example, if you type **1-6** or **1/6** then Excel will automatically display this value as **6-Jan** because it assumes you meant for the value to be a date.

In most cases, this is a helpful correction by Excel.

However, sometimes you actually want the cell to display **1-6** or **1/6**.

There are two ways to prevent Excel from changing numbers to dates:

**Method 1: Specify Text as the Format**

**Method 2: Use an Apostrophe Before the Number**

The following examples show how to use each method in practice.

**Example 1: Specify Text as the Format**

Suppose I attempt to enter the values 1/6, 1/16, 1/19, 2/20 … into Excel:

By default, Excel converts these values into dates.

To prevent Excel from converting these values into dates, I can first highlight the range **A1:A14** where I want to enter these values, then click the **Number Format** dropdown menu from the **Home** tab, then click **Text**:

Now when I enter the values 1/6, 1/16, 1/19, 2/20 … into column A the values will appear as text instead of dates:

**Example 2: Use an Apostrophe Before the Number**

Another way of preventing Excel from changing numbers to text is to simply type an apostrophe ( ‘ ) first before entering the number.

For example, instead of typing **1/6** I would type **‘1/6** into cell **A1**:

I can repeat this for each value in column A:

Each value in column A now appears exactly how I entered it instead of being shown as dates.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

How to Replace #N/A Values in Excel

How to Ignore #DIV/0! When Using Division in Excel

How to Ignore #N/A Values When Using Formulas in Excel