All Collections
How to
How to Prevent SOC Codes from being Dates in Excel
How to Prevent SOC Codes from being Dates in Excel
Updated over a week ago


Since Excel's default cell format is General, Excel tries to convert SOC codes that begin with "11-" into dates. All other SOC groups are outside the possible range of dates (1-12), so only SOC 11 (Management) is affected by this problem.

Below is a workaround that imports data from a CSV into Excel and pre-formats the SOC column to Text. This prevents the SOC 11’s from being converted to dates.

Step-by-step Instructions

  1. Open a new Excel workbook

  2. In the new workbook, open the “Data” tab:

  3. Select "From Text" to pull in data from another document. Note the view may be slightly different depending on your computer:

  4. Select your csv from the list that Excel shows:

  5. This will open the Text Import Wizard, which will walk you through formatting the data in your csv before it's opened and incorrectly formatted by Excel. "CSV" stands for comma-separated values, and refers to the fact that a comma is used to separate (delimit) columns of data. A csv is a delimited file, so select "Delimited" from the Text Wizard options and then hit Next to move to the next screen:

  6. On this screen, you will need to tell the Text Wizard how your file is delimited. A csv is comma-delimited by definition, so select "Comma.” "Tab" is usually pre-selected, so de-select it and select "Comma." Once you switch to comma, you can ensure that this was the right choice by visually checking the data shown in the preview window. If you've selected the right delimiter, the data will fall neatly into columns like you'd expect to see in the finished product:

  7. Click "Next" to advance to the last step of the Text Wizard. This is where the SOC problem is corrected. The Wizard gives you the option to apply cell formats to each column (unless you have a million columns). In the preview window, click on the column containing the SOC codes to highlight it. Then click the "Text" radio button to switch the format of the SOC column to Text:

  8. After switching the SOC column’s format to Text and confirming that the preview pane now shows it as Text, click the Finish button. The final box asks you to confirm that you want your data put into the new Excel sheet staring with cell A1. Click Import (or OK) without changing this setting.

  9. This should result in clean SOC data. Confirm by checking for the existence of a SOC starting with 11.

Did this answer your question?