|First, a comment on trvlr's response: Using a text format for dates may help to lock them into the format you desire, but it makes it difficult to do "date math" since Excel doesn't (always) recognize the text data as dates. If it works for your purposes, that's great, but it can sometimes introduce other problems. Excel can be weird when dates are involved.|
As far as the OP's question, Excel doesn't recognize the data as a date, since ##.##.## is not a valid date format. (the period is not a valid delimiter for dates in Excel)
If we replace the periods with slashes, we should be OK. Try this:
With your non-date in A1, enter this in B1.
Excel should now recognize the data in B1 as a date.
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message edited by DerbyDad03