Show a Date as a Month Name – Google Sheets

This tutorial shows you two methods to display your dates as the month’s name in your spreadsheet. The default is to show the month, day, and year together. Therefore, you will have to make a few changes depending on your desired output.

Grab a copy of this live sheet to follow along with the examples.

If you wanted to show the month as a number, you would use the MONTH function. That’s nice and easy, but this tutorial is not about that, right? This tutorial is about displaying the month of the year as a word. So we’re not going to use the MONTH function and then use that number to look up the month. That’s a little bit too clunky.

Video Tutorial

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Technique # 1 – Apply Custom Formatting

The first way to show the date as the month is to change the formatting. This method doesn’t pull the month’s name into any other cell or formula. This technique changes how the spreadsheet displays the data within a cell.

Select the cell or range you want to change, go up to the Format menu, and go to Number because Sheets stores valid dates as numbers.

Menu with Number formatting selected
Number Formatting Menu Option

Then, go to Custom date and time.

Menu with Custom date and time selected
Custom Date and Time

Clicking on Custom date and time pulls up a menu giving you the options of how to show the month, the day, and the year.

We don’t want the day or year in this case. You will need to delete the Year, the Day, and the two dashes that separate them. After deleting those items, the spreadsheet shows the month formatted as two numbers, 05 in this case. But we want to show the month as a word. Click on the Month selector and change it to show the month’s full name.

A series of dates formatted to just show the name of the month
Names of the Month

Now your spreadsheet should be showing the names of the month. Next, we will cover extracting the month from a date value.

Technique # 2 – Extract the Name of the Month

Instead of changing the formatting of an existing number, you can pull the month out of a date value and return it in another cell. To do this, we will use the TEXT function.

Typing in the TEXT function
TEXT Function

This function will take a number, and a month is a number, and format it into text. So we will give this function the cell reference where the date is. As shown in cell B1 above, the date value is in A1.

The second input for the TEXT function is the format. Remember to surround the value with quotes like "MMMM". Using a single "M" would return the month as a number with no leading zero. "MM" would output the month with a leading zero if the month number is one digit. "MMM" would give the shortened version of the month, such as Jun. "DDDD" would provide us with the June we’re looking for.

Name of the Month Extracted

Other Date and Time Parts

We can use this same theory to return other parts of dates like the day of the week, minutes, seconds, et cetera. You’ve just gotten a little taste for working with dates in Google Sheets. It can be an eye-opening experience.