Changing a Cell’s Data Type

  • Updated goes beyond text and numbers with support for over 25 rich data types. See our article on Changing Data Types for general information on changing data types, or articles on changing a column's data type or range of cells data type, as needed.

Setting data types for individual cells allows you to customize particular parts of worksheets. For instance, when building a project plan, you might have a column of due dates, but want to edit one cell for a task that's due at a specific time. Or your bug tracker might have a Select list to indicate which team is working on the bug, but you change a cell to Multiselect so that you can select multiple teams as working on one particularly tricky task.

How to Change the Data Type for a Cell

To change the data type of cell, select the cell you'd like to change, right-click, and select Edit data type... An Edit data type dialog box will appear for that cell. In this dialog box, you can set the Data Type and will see the corresponding settings for each data type. 


For instance, in the animation above, we want to assign status options to a task so we edit the relevant cell to a Multiselect list, enabling us to assign multiple teams. 

Different data types will have different possible settings, though all data types (except Automatic) allow you to restrict the data in that range to only data of that data type. For instance, restricting an Attachment cell prevents users from typing text in addition to adding files.

Once complete, click Update to change the cell data type.

Changing a Cell in a Strict Range

Cells that are already part of a range of Strict cells can still be changed. However, a warning like the following will appear:


To continue, click Ok and the Edit data type dialog box will appear.

Changing a Cell in Strict Columns

Cells in Strict columns cannot be changed without first changing the column. If you try to change the data type of cells in a Strict Column, you will get an error message like the following:


To edit this cell, you will need to update the corresponding column (in the error message above this would be column D) and turn off the Strict restriction.

Changing a Cell in the Primary Column

Cells in the Primary Column are restricted to alphanumeric data types. If you try to change a cell from this column, you will see fewer data type options.

Converting Between Data Types

When changing data types, data already in a cell may be converted to the new data type. Please see our article on Converting Between Data Types for more insight into how data of one type converts to another.

Undoing Changes

Like most other changes in, you can undo a change in data type. To undo, either select Undo in the toolbar mceclip0.png or type Ctrl + Z (CMD + Z for Mac users). Undoing edits to a cell's data type will restore the cell to its previous data type.

Converting from one data type to another often results in changes to the underlying data. Check out our article on converting between data types for more insight, or check out all of the 25+ possible data types you can utilize in our Data Type articles.