2.103 FAQ-993 When I paste my Excel time data into Origin, Origin displays 12/30/1899

Last Update: 10/13/2020

Note: The following information is intended for users of Origin 2020b and earlier. Beginning with Origin 2021, Origin automatically formats date and time data pasted from MS Excel.

When you copy cells containing time data from MS Excel and paste them into Origin, you will likely see that the data display in Origin as "12/30/1899". This is Excel's "base date". The pasted time data remains but the trick is to get Origin to display it:

FAQ993 Excel base time.png
  1. Click on the time column header in Origin, then right-click and select Properties.
  2. Change Format to Numeric and click OK. You should now see your time data displayed as a Julian Day number, with an integer part and a decimal part. We need to remove the integer part (which is date) and keep the decimal part (which is time).
  3. FAQ993 Julian Day Fraction.png
  4. Double-click on the F(x)= cell directly above your time data column and enter the following, then click out of the cell:
    ... where N is the column Short Name. The cells in your time column should now display the fractional portion of the previously-displayed Julian Day value.
  5. Select the time column again, right-click and select Properties.
  6. This time, change Format to Time and set Display to your desired time format (e.g. HH:mm:ss).
  7. Click OK and you should now see your time data displayed properly.
  8. FAQ993 Julian Day Time.png

    If you import your MS Excel data -- as opposed to copying and pasting -- into Origin, your time data should display properly in the worksheet without performing the above steps.

    Keywords:Microsoft Office, base time, Julian Day, convert, date, date-time