How to fix formatting issues in Excel?

Summary – Formatting issues in Excel are common that result in data loss and impede businesses. These Excel issues require proper and correct troubleshooting so that the data in the Excel files is meaningful and usable. Read on to know specific methods to fix the various Excel formatting issues.

A formatting issue in Excel may affect fonts, charts, shading, colors, borders, number formats, file formats, cell formats, hyperlink formats, and several other elements. For each of these different Excel format issues — Font Type and Size changed, Chart formatting, Conditional Formatting Rules, Text formatted to Number, Number formatted to Text or Date, Dates formatted to Numbers, etc. there are specific solutions.

A few common Excel formatting issues and how to fix them

  1. Date Format issue in Excel:

The typed-in date changes to a number, text, another format of date (for example, MM/DD/YYYY may change to DD/MM/YYYY), or any other format that Excel does not recognize.

An example of Excel Date Format issue is as follows:

A user enters or types a Date — September 6 in a cell of Excel file. However, on pressing the ‘Enter’ key the value of the cell converts to a ‘Number.’

This implies that the cell’s number format is not in sync with what the user is trying to achieve. The cell is set to the Number format, which converts the input to a numerical value.

Solution: Right-click the cell containing the Date, select ‘Format Cells’, click ‘Date’ present under Number à Category and finally choose a Date format of choice (Example: DD/MM/YYYY format).

Note – This is valid for older versions of Excel.

Date format issue in Excel

In Excel 2007 and above versions; click a cell, next click the drop-down arrow in the Number section of the Home tab. In doing so, a list of the Number format appears, along with the data represented in each of the formats.

  1. Number Format Issue and how to fix it

The Number format issue in Excel is an issue wherein a Number is formatted or changed to Text, Date, or any other format that is not recognized by Excel.

Solution: In such cases, users can use Error Checking or Paste Special as fixes.

Number format issue in Excel

  1. Formatting issues in font type, size, color, and conditional formatting:

These generally occur in Excel if users open Excel files on a system other than where those were created, or if the new system runs an older Office/Excel version.

Solution: Users should make sure they save the Excel files in the native and widely accepted Excel 2007/2010 format, and not in the older Excel 97-2003 format. These are the options that users get while saving the Excel file using ‘Save As’ feature.

Excel Save As

Users can also try to fix the Excel formatting issue by transferring all data from the current spreadsheet or workbook to a new and usable Excel workbook.

  1. Excel XLS or XLSX file corruption:

In such situations, the Excel files need to be repaired which can be done by using either the inbuilt ‘Open or Repair’ utility or an Excel file repair software such as Stellar Repair for Excel.

The software repairs the damaged Excel (XLS or XLSX) file in 3 quick and easy steps: Select, Scan, and Save. You can save the repaired file either at the default or desired location.

free download


Despite being an amazing application that allows users to create and process complex data in workbooks. Microsoft Excel is not free from concerns including the ones that arise due to formatting issues. This is true for all Excel versions, be it the latest Excel 2016 or other lower versions. Therefore, the need to employ the appropriate fixes whenever required.

In addition, the use of an advanced Excel repair tool is recommended to fix issues that appear due to Excel file corruption. An advanced software such as Stellar Repair for Excel recovers the lost formatting from corrupt Excel files. It offers an intuitive interface to repair Font formatting, Chart Formatting, Conditional formatting rules and more while preserving the data format at the time of restoring the Excel files.

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