You've got your calendar apps, your Google calendar, and maybe even a calendar hanging on your fridge, but are they enough? Calendar apps can take away some of your privacy since your plans are synced with the cloud and you may not always have the time to write directly on a physical calendar. So, what do you do? Though it is not well known as a calendar program, Excel is actually the perfect place to create and manage your calendar. Not only are you in total control of how your calendar looks and what goes on it, but you can also access it from all your devices, just like an app. With all this said, we bet you're wondering how to get started. In this article, we'll run through some handy tips on how to make a calendar in Excel along with a deeper look at the program.

What Is an Excel Calendar?

An Excel calendar is exactly what it sounds like: a calendar made in the widely known and used program, Excel. Of course, many readers were probably unaware that calendars can be made in Excel. When asked what Excel can do or what it is for, the answer is usually a pretty vague and generalized, "just about anything." But what does this mean exactly? Let's break it down: 

What Can Excel Do?

Excel is easily one of the most versatile programs available today. Best known for spreadsheets, Excel can be used to calculate everything because it is a programming tool, a database, and a graphics program with charts, drawing tools, photos, tables, clip art, a word processor, spell check, grammar tools, translation functions, and research functions.


When we say that this program can do just about anything, we really mean it. Whether this information is a pleasant surprise, a quick refresher, or something you were already in the know about, having a full rundown of this program's capabilities can only be a help to you.


Now that we have a clearer idea of what Excel can do, you may be asking yourself where an Excel calendar comes in.

So Where Does the Calendar Come In?

Thanks to Excel's graphics features, users are able to do everything from creating a detailed drawing to expertly editing a photo. In addition to these more common graphics functions, you can also make note pads, list pads, schedules, grids and graph paper, greeting cards, business cards, and (you guessed it!) calendars.

Why Excel?

With programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, you may be asking yourself why Excel is even necessary for half the functions listed above, let alone making calendars. The answer is fairly simple: not everyone can afford or has access to graphics and photo-editing software. In fact, most people are unable to use these tools unless they do so from work or school. With this in mind, many people find it easier and more accessible to use Excel for these needs and more. Excel is sort of like a one-stop shop where you can tackle several projects at once, making it a great resource for anything you might need.

Can Excel Make a High-Quality Calendar?

Short answer, yes. With Excel, you can create and format a calendar any way you choose. What's more, Excel comes with several calendar templates that are highly customizable and easy to work with. If you already have some dates highlighted or events logged, you can take this information from a spreadsheet and import it directly into your Outlook calendar.


As far as high quality is concerned, the Excel program offers a sleek interface that is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. This translates to everything you make using Excel, whether it is a standard spreadsheet or a calendar. What's more, this calendar is one of your design. This means that you know how it works and can tweak it to your needs and preferences across all platforms, whether you're accessing it from your laptop, tablet, or phone.


So, let's get down to the meat of the article: how to make a calendar in Excel. We'll walk you through a step-by-step process that covers everything you need to know about building the perfect calendar in this revolutionary program.

How to Make a Calendar in Excel

Making a calendar in Excel is fairly simple, but there are a lot of ways to get the job done. With this in mind, we'll run through the different options open to you. Some options may be better for different functions, so be sure to really think about what you need your calendar for. For example, if you want to create a calendar for personal dates, events, and information, a template-based calendar is the best option. This also goes for academic calendars both for teachers and students who need something a bit more structured to refer to as they go about their business. Finally, professionals may find a template-based calendar useful to keep track of meetings, trips, and more.


For more business-based needs, a drop-down calendar inserted directly into Excel might be the ticket - but more on that later.

Getting Started with Templates

Excel columns

via Giphy

The simplest way to begin making your calendar is to so with an Excel template. Excel has plenty of templates to choose from, so for now all you have to think about is what you want your calendar to look like and how it should be formatted.


Each Excel calendar template will come with one or more of the following features:


  • Twelve months in one or more spreadsheets
  • Calendar printing on one page or twelve pages
  • Thirteen-month calendars starting with July or August and ending with July or August of the following year to represent a full school year
  • Displayed weekdays from Sunday to Saturday or Monday to Sunday
  • Portrait orientation
  • Landscape orientation
  • One ruled column for notes
  • A vacation planner
  • Budget trackers
  • Daily schedule trackers
  • Task trackers
  • To-do lists

You can easily browse through the different calendar templates and then choose one that is best for you and your needs. You can download them online, or access them by opening a new Excel document, clicking on "File," and selecting "New." From here, you'll be shown a variety of different templates to choose from.

​How to Make a Calendar in Excel Using a Template

The simplest way to begin making your calendar is to so with an Excel template. Excel has plenty of templates to choose from, so for now all you have to think about is what you want your calendar to look like and how it should be formatted.


Each Excel calendar template will come with one or more of the following features:


  • Twelve months in one or more spreadsheets
  • Calendar printing on one page or twelve pages
  • Thirteen-month calendars starting with July or August and ending with July or August of the following year to represent a full school year
  • Displayed weekdays from Sunday to Saturday or Monday to Sunday
  • Portrait orientation
  • Landscape orientation
  • One ruled column for notes
  • A vacation planner
  • Budget trackers
  • Daily schedule trackers
  • Task trackers
  • To-do lists

You can easily browse through the different calendar templates and then choose one that is best for you and your needs. You can download them online, or access them by opening a new Excel document, clicking on "File," and selecting "New." From here, you'll be shown a variety of different templates to choose from.

Step 1: Find Your Template

Once you've opened up the templates section, begin looking through them to find the right template for you. Depending on the version of Office you're using, there may be a section specifically for calendars. If not, you can easily type the keyword (calendars) into the search bar and go from there. For some versions of Excel, simply opening a new document will lead you to some highlighted templates. Usually, these are the more popular choices that are sleek yet generic enough to fit universal needs. If you want your template to be more specific, you can tweak the keywords (i.e. academic calendar, etc).

Step 2: Set the Template to the Correct Date(s)

When your template is fully loaded and ready to use, you'll see your new blank calendar ready to go. To be sure, the dates will likely be incorrect, but this can be easily changed. To do this, begin with the menu that drops down when you select a date. Though it will depend on which template you're using, you can expect to see the date displayed by year and month. Select the correct criteria using the drop-down button that will appear alongside the dates. The button should display a number of options that will allow you to adjust your calendar straight away. In general, you should be able to set the day the week starts so that your calendar is as accurate as possible.

Step 3: Make Adjustments

There will be tip boxes that appear with your template that you might want to get rid of. This option is best if you intend to print out your calendar and do not want to see text boxes everywhere.


From here, you can begin adjusting any visuals you would like to change up. If the color, font, size, or layout is not exactly what you want, you can change and customize it to your liking.

Step 4: Enter Your Events

Now that your template calendar is configured how you want it, you can start entering all of your information into it. You can easily add everything from events and appointments to reminders and more by simply selecting the cell you want and typing in your information.


You are able to put more than one event on a single cell for day or time, but you will need to get your spacing done in a clear and easy-to-read way. Inputting multiple events like you would on a calendar app looks a little different when using Excel.


And there you have it! You've now learned how to make a calendar in Excel using a template. Next, we'll go over inserting an already-existing calendar into Excel using the date picker control.

​Inserting a Calendar into Excel with Date Picker Control

excel spreadsheet icon

Image via Pixabay

Inserting a drop-down calendar is super simple, but it doesn't hurt to have a tutorial to work with. One reason a quick how-to is welcome is because the "Date and Time Picker Control" is rather well-hidden in the program. In fact, most users are unaware that this tool even exists! With this in mind, we hope the following walk-through guidelines will help you not only locate the tool but create the calendar you need.

Step 1. Show the Developer Tab

In the Developer tab, you'll find the date picker control. This tool is part of ActiveX controls, all of which can be found in the Developer tab. Of course, the Developer Tab is hidden in Excel, but you can make it reveal itself easily. To do so, right-click anywhere on the ribbon and then click "Customize the Ribbon." From here, you'll see a "Main Tabs" option on the right-hand part of the window. Next, check the Developer box and click "OK" to add it.

Step 2. Insert a Calendar Control and Customize

For clarity, the drop-down calendar in Excel is technically known as "Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control." By following this sequence, you can insert it into your sheet:


  • Once you have the Developer Tab, go to the "Control" group. Click "Insert" and then click the "More Controls" button under "ActiveX Controls." In the "More Controls" dialogue window that will appear, you'll find the "Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control 6.0" (depending on the version of Office you're using). From here, click "OK."


  • Once you've done this, click on a cell where you would like to insert the calendar control. Now that the date picker control is successfully inserted, the EMBED formula should appear in the formula bar. This lets Excel know what type of control is embedded in the sheet for future reference. Be careful not to delete it or you'll have to begin the whole process over again!


Now that you the ActiveX control inserted, Design Mode is automatically turned on. This allows you to modify the appearance and properties of the control and your calendar - everything from size to color and font.

Step 3: Link the Calendar Control to a Designated Cell

Now that you've added a drop-down calendar into Excel, you can also link it to a specific cell. This is a useful and necessary last task if you are using your calendar for business such as tracking orders, shipments, and more. You'll need your dates to be correct, so be sure to input the correct date and formulas during setup. For more info on how to configure this correctly, go here.


As you can see, using Excel to create and maintain your calendar is more than doable. You have a few options of how to get this done and plenty of room to play around and customize to make your calendar to your liking. Whether you want to use an Excel template or go with inserting a drop-down calendar directly into the program, you now know how to do both successfully. For future reference, using a template is great for a personal calendar while a drop-down calendar may be more useful for business tasks.

Featured Image via Pixabay