I would love to set my default date-setting to be iso 8601 (relevant xkcd) for all of my Google Spreadsheets. I'm well aware that I can manually change the date-format for a given spreadsheet by:

  1. Selecting the whole sheet, click Format; Number; More formats; 2008-09-26

And it correctly sets the date formatting for that sheet. However, I have to do this for each sheet, and even more annoyingly every new spreadsheet that I create.

My question: How do I set this date format to be my default?


I believe that the only way to achieve this is to set a locale in which this date format is a default one. For example I have it as default because I have Polish locale.

Link to settings: https://drive.google.com/settings

  • 2
    If that's the only way to do this, that's too bad! Unfortunately I don't speak Polish. – JBWhitmore May 7 '14 at 21:06
  • 1
    You could try Hungarian, then .... – LeeGee Jun 4 '17 at 8:14
  • But this also changes the default currency, which is then wrong! – Michael Jun 27 '18 at 1:57
  • Thanks, it changed the dates to ISO, but unfortunatelly changed numbers to format with a "," instead of "." as decimal point. – BoltKey Jun 7 at 15:44

To have ISO date format 2017-05-20 and decimal dot (like 1.25), use either of the following locales: Canada (English), Mongolia.

To have ISO date format 2017-05-20 and decimal comma (like 1,25), use any of the following locales: Canada (French), Lithuania, Poland, Sweden.

Reference: Complete list of options


Open a sheet, then File > Spreadsheet settings and set locale to Hungarian and display language to English.

As noted in a comment below, this is not strictly ISO-8601 dates, as it uses dots rather than hyphens to delimit, but it is as close as I could find.

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