How Minitab recognizes date/time values

Minitab assigns a data type (numeric, text, or date/time) to a column based on the first value entered in the column. In order for Minitab to assign the date/time type to a column, Minitab must recognize the format of the first value as a date/time display format. Minitab recognizes most standard date/time display formats, including those from the regional and language settings in the Windows Control Panel. If you enter a date/time value in a format that Minitab doesn't recognize, Minitab assigns the column a text or numeric data type.


To see the format assigned to a column, with the column active right-click and choose Format Column. The format is displayed in Custom date format.


You can create a custom date/time format and assign it to a new column. See Defining custom date/time display formats.

Minitab date/time formats

Minitab recognizes many date/time formats. The following table shows some of the formats that Minitab recognizes.
Format Description Example
d-mmmm-yy Day, full month name, and 2-digit year 5-January-14
mmmm d Full month name and day January 5
d mm Day and 3-letter month 5 Jan
d mmmm yy Day, full month name, and 2-digit year 5 January 14
mmmm d, yy Full month name, day, and 2-digit year January 5, 14 AM/PM 12-hour time (hour, minute, second, AM or PM) 11:10:14.22 PM
[d].hh:mm:ss.sss Elapsed time (days, hours, minutes, seconds, hundredths of seconds) 12.5:23:14.235

Minitab also recognizes variations of these formats. For example, Minitab recognizes mmmm d, yy (January 1, 14) and mmm dd, yyyy (Jan 1, 2014).

If you enter time components with a colon (:) but without a date and without AM/PM (such as 1:17) in an unformatted column, Minitab recognizes the value as an elapsed time (1 hour, 17 minutes), not as a specific time on the 12- or 24-hour clock.

Date/time formats from regional settings

Minitab recognizes some date/time formats based on the short and long formats specified in the regional and language settings in the Windows Control Panel. For example, regional default formats for January 12, 2014 are shown in the following table.
Format Regional setting Example
m/d/yy English (United States) 1/12/14
yy/m/d Chinese, Korean, or Japanese 14/1/12
d/m/yy English (United Kingdom) or French (France) 12/1/14

Minitab interprets 2-part dates (month and day, without the year) based on regional settings. For example, if the regional setting is m/d/yy or yy/m/d, Minitab interprets 1/12 as January 12 of the current year. However, if the regional setting is yy/d/m, Minitab interprets the 2-part date 1/12 as December 1 of the current year. Minitab always interprets a 2-part date that includes a 4-digit year as a month and a year.

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