Date format that is guaranteed to be recognized by Excel

Question!

We're exporting our analytics reports in various formats, among them CSV. For some clients this CSV finds it's way into Excel.

Inside the CSV file one of the columns is a Date, for example

"Start Date","Name"
"07-04-2010", "Maxim"

Excel has trouble parsing this date format, obviously depending on the Locale of the user. Is "07" is the day or the month...

Could you recommend some textual format for a Date field that excel will not have trouble parsing? I'm aiming at the most fail safe option possible. I would settle for some escape sequence that will cause excel to avoid parsing the text in the column altogether.

Thanks for helping, Maxim.



Answers

If you format your dates as follows in the csv output, Excel will parse the content exactly as a date (other columns for realism only)

43,somestring,="03/03/2003",anotherval
55,anotherstring,="01/02/2004",finalval

so add ="{date}" and it parses as date!

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