2.119 FAQ-1066 How do I copy and paste date-time data from MS Excel?

Last Update: 10/13/2020


You can copy date-time data from MS Excel and paste it into Origin but there are some things to watch for. The most important thing to note is that data in the Origin worksheet registers as either text or numeric.

  • If data are left-aligned in the worksheet, the data register as text.
  • If data are right-aligned, the data register as numeric.
  • Since correctly-formatted date-time data are stored internally as numeric, seeing left-aligned date-time data will be your first clue that something isn't correctly formatted.


Origin 2021 or Later

Beginning with Origin 2021, code changes make it easier to copy and paste date-time data from MS Excel to Origin. As long as date-time data are properly formatted in Excel, you should be able to simply copy the data in Excel, paste it to Origin and Origin should automatically format the column properly as date-time (again, if pasting results in left-aligned data, something isn't properly formatted).

FAQ1066 Copy Paste Origin 2021.png

Note that despite slight differences in Excel and Origin date-time notation, the date-time data in the above example are properly pasted to Origin, without need for configuring column Properties.

  1. You can confirm this by selecting the worksheet column in Origin, right-clicking and choosing Properties.
  2. You should see that the Format is set to Date or Time, and that Display or Custom Display show the proper date-time format (see Origin's Date and Time Format Specifiers).
FAQ1066 Copy Paste Origin 2021 image2.png


Origin 2020b and Earlier

Pasting date-time data from Excel yields mixed results in earlier versions but the thing to know is that -- whether pasted data are left-aligned or right-aligned in the worksheet -- the data register as Text & Numeric.

FAQ1066 Copy Paste Origin 2021 image3.png
  • Before data can be treated as date-time and analyzed and plotted correctly, the column Format must set to Date or Time and the correct date-time Display string must be specified.
  • For information on formatting date and time data in the worksheet, see this Origin Help file page.

Keywords:Format, Custom Format, left-aligned, numeric, text, data import