Using DATE function in Excel - formula examples to calculate dates

When it comes to calculating dates in Excel, DATE is the most essential function to understand. As you probably know, Excel does not keep the year, month and day for a date, nor does it explicitly store weekday information in a cell. Instead, Microsoft Excel stores dates as serial numbers and this is the main source of confusion.

Not all Excel date functions can recognize dates entered as text values, therefore it's not recommended to supply dates directly in calculations. Instead, you should use the DATE function to get a serial number representing the date, the number that Excel understands and can operate on.

Excel DATE function

The Excel DATE function returns the serial number that represents a certain date. It has the following arguments:

DATE(year, month, day)


Year - represents the year of the date.

Month - an integer representing the month of the year, from 1 (January) to 12 (December).

Day - an integer corresponding to the day of the month, from 1 to 31.

The DATE function is available in all versions of Excel 365 - Excel 2007.

DATE function - tips and notes

The DATE syntax looks crystal clear and straightforward on the surface. In practice, there may be some unobvious pitfalls that the below tips will help you avoid.


Excel interprets the year argument according to the date system set up on your computer. By default, Microsoft Excel for Windows uses the 1900 system where January 1, 1900 is represented by the serial number 1. For more details, please see Excel date format.

  • If the year argument is between 1900 and 9999 inclusive, Excel uses exactly the value you supplied to create a date. For example, DATE(2015, 12, 31) returns December 31, 2015.
  • If the year argument is between 0 and 1899 inclusive, Excel adds the specified number to 1900. For example, DATE(100, 12, 31) returns December 31, 2000 (1900 + 100).
  • If the year argument is less than 0 or greater than 9999, a DATE formula will return the #NUM! error.

Tip. To avoid confusion, always supply four-digit years. For example, if you input "01" or "1" in the year argument, your DATE formula will return the year of 1901.


  • If the month argument is greater than 12, Excel adds that number to the first month in the specified year. For example, DATE(2015, 15, 5) returns the serial number representing March 1, 2016 (January 5, 2015 plus 15 months).
  • If the month argument is less than 1 (zero or negative value), Excel subtracts the magnitude of that number of months, plus 1, from the first month in the specified year. For example, DATE(2015, -5, 1) returns the serial number representing July 1, 2014 (January 1, 2015 minus 6 months).


As well as month, the day argument can be supplied as a positive and negative number, and Excel calculates its value based on the same principles as described above.

Tip. At first sight, supplying negative values in the month or day argument of the Excel DATE function may seem absurd, but in practice it may turn out quite useful, for example in the complex formula that converts a week number to a date.

Excel DATE formula examples

Below you will find a few examples of using DATE formulas in Excel beginning with the simplest ones.

Example 1. DATE formula to return a serial number for a date

This is the most obvious use of the DATE function in Excel.

For example, to return a serial number corresponding to 20-May-2015, use this formula:

=DATE(2015, 5, 20)

Instead of specifying the values representing the year, month and day directly in a formula, you can have some or all arguments driven by of other Excel date functions. For instance, combine the YEAR and TODAY to get a serial number for the first day of the current year.

=DATE(YEAR(TODAY()), 1, 1)

And this formula outputs a serial number for the first day of the current month in the current year:

Using the DATE function in Excel to get a serial number representing a date

Tip. To display a date rather than a serial number, apply the desired Date format to the formula cell.

Example 2. How to return a date based on values in other cells

The DATE function is very helpful for calculating dates where the year, month, and day values are stored in other cells.

For example, to find the serial number for the date, taking the values in cells A2, A3 and A4 as the year, month and day arguments, respectively, the formula is:

=DATE(A2, A3, A4)
Excel DATE formula to return a date based on values in other cells

Example 3. DATE formula to convert a string or number to a date

Another scenario when the Excel DATE function proves useful is when the dates are stored in the format that Microsoft Excel does not recognize, for instance DDMMYYYY. In this case, you can use DATE in liaison with other functions to convert a date stored as a numeric string or number into a date:

=DATE(RIGHT(A2,4), MID(A2,3,2), LEFT(A2,2))
DATE formula to convert a string to a date

Example 4. Adding and subtracting dates in Excel

As already mentioned, Microsoft Excel stores dates as serial numbers and operates on those numbers in formulas and calculations. That is why when you want to add or subtract some days to/from a given date, you need to convert that date to a serial number first by using the Excel DATE function. For example:

  • Adding days to a date:=DATE(2015, 5, 20) + 15The formula adds 15 days to May 20, 2015 and returns June 4, 2015.
  • Subtracting days from a date:=DATE(2015, 5, 20) - 15The result of the above formula is May 5, 2015, which is May 20, 2015 minus 15 days.
  • To subtract a date from today's date:=TODAY()-DATE(2015,5,20)The formula calculates how many days are between the current date and some other date that you specify.

DATE formulas to add and subtract dates in Excel

If you are adding or subtracting two dates that are stored in some cells, then the formula is as simple as =A1+B1 or A1-B1, respectively.

For more information, please see:

Advanced Excel DATE formulas

And here are a few more examples where Excel DATE is used in combination with other functions in more complex formulas:

Using Excel DATE formulas in conditional formatting

In case you want not only to calculate but also highlight dates in your Excel worksheets, then create conditional formatting rules based on DATE formulas.

Supposing you have a list of dates in column A and you want to shade dates that occurred earlier than 1-May-2015 in orange and those that occur after 31-May-2015 in green.

The DATE formulas you want are as follows:

Orange: =$A2<DATE(2015, 5, 1) - highlights dates less than 1-May-2015

Green: =$A2>DATE(2015, 5, 31) - highlights dates greater than 31-May-2015
Using Excel DATE formulas in conditional formatting

For the detailed steps and more formula examples, please see How to conditionally format dates in Excel.

How to make date formulas in Excel with Date & Time Wizard

Though DATE is the main function to work with dates in Excel, a handful of other functions are available to tackle more specific tasks. You can find the links to in-depth tutorials at the end of this article.

Meanwhile, I'd like to present you our Date & Time Wizard - a quick and easy way to calculate dates in Excel. The beauty of this tool is that outputs the results as formulas, not values. Thus you have a kind of 'two birds, one stone' opportunity - get the result faster and learn Excel date functions along the way :)

The wizard can perform the following calculations:

  • Add years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds to the specified date.
  • Subtract years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds from the specified date.
  • Calculate the difference between two dates.
  • Get age from the birthdate.

For example, here's how you can add 4 different units in cells B3:E3 to the date in A4. The formula in B4 is built in real-time as you change the conditions:
Subtract dates in Excel using the Date & Time Wizard

If you are curious to explore other capabilities of the wizard, feel free to download an evaluation version of the Ultimate Suite below which includes this as well as 60 more time saving add-ins for Excel.

I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!

Available downloads

Ultimate Suite 14-day fully-functional version (.exe file)


  1. Hi I need help please I have a sheet which I have registration numbers down and then I have made individual month columns going accross the top is there a formula that can highlight 6 monthly due from date of last inspection

  2. Excel formula help please! I'm not sure how to do this.
    I need to find the total dollar amount spent-to-date based on a start date and the current date. So ideally, the dollar amount will update each day.
    The dollar amount is a weekly rate (so should be divided by 7 for a daily rate).
    How would I do this?
    So Cell 1 is a weekly $ amount. Cell 2 is the "start date" and Cell 3 is the current date. Cell 4 would show the total dollar amount spent for the number of days between start and current.

  3. Hello,

    Unskilled user needing a little help please?

    I currently use this formula to show me a date which an action has to take place by prior to an event date:


    Is it possible to create a fornula for the same result cell to return a text value of ‘Expired’ if the date returned is older than todays date, rather than show the date once the threshold is reached?

      • Hello

        Thank you. This solves part of my task. The reslts display '"Expired" in the appropriate date conditions, but if the date has not expired it returns a blank cell.

        In the NOT expired result, I would like this to show the date which the intial formula =WORKDAY(B4,-3) shows..

        Example of desired result: Today is 19/04/2023

        Date of event Cell result
        19/04/2024 Expired
        20/04/2024 Expired
        21/04/2024 Expired
        22//04/2024 Expired (Allows for weekend as none countable days))
        23/04/2024 Expired
        24/04/2024 Expired
        25/04/2024 22//04/2024
        26/04/2024 23//04/2024

        Many thanks.

        • Hi! I believe that you can replace the empty string in the FALSE argument in the IF formula with the formula that you want to use. Have a look at the link I gave you.

  4. How can i set a formula to calculate a date for the first monday 1 year after a set date.

    i.e. if the set date is 11/4/24 the first monday 1 year after that date would be 15/04/2025

  5. Help please!

    How to do the formula, let say:

    <15 working days = 10 marks
    31 working days = 0 marks

    22/1/2024 - 31/1/2024 = 8 days

    How to do the formula to in the marks?

  6. Help please! How can I create a formula for overdue work. Example: work was due on 3/5/204. It is now overdue, so I want today's date 3/15/2024. Other students are on time, so their work is due on 3/17/24

  7. Saloon Cars AD 26077 24/01/2024
    Saloon Cars AD 35139
    Saloon Cars AD 39761
    Saloon Cars AD 39953
    Saloon Cars AD 54024
    Saloon Cars AD 10992
    Saloon Cars AD 12056
    Saloon Cars AD 13890
    Saloon Cars AD 37692
    Saloon Cars AD 43129
    Saloon Cars AD 34405

    In abstract i need, Saloon cars showing the count of dates as 1.

    In short i want to count the dates with respect to the data i.e. Saloon cars

  8. May I ask a formula sample:

    A1= 10 May 2023
    A2 = 30 September 2024

    What formula I can put so I can get the middle of the date? I've tried =IF(M2>16,TEXT(I2+(H2-I2)/2,"M/D/YYYY"),I2)
    but it shows not correct format of the date like (7/1/2023)

  9. Hello
    How do I find if two dates have 12 months or less between them, if i have ID number and a date and the same ID number but different dates (sometimes 5 dates or more) not in the same row but somewhere else on the sheet

  10. Hello Sir, I need to put conditional formatting on the date column to highlight everything that falls within 3 days from today. For example, today is the 15th, it should highlight cells that show 15th, 16, and 17 Dec. Anything before the 15th Dec or after the 18th Dec should not be highlighted. Please can you suggest?

  11. =IF(MONTH(D3-WEEKDAY((D3),2)+1)<MONTH(D3)*(D3-28-DAY(D3)+7)-WEEKDAY((D3-DAY(D3)+7),2)+1*(D3-DAY(D3)+7)-WEEKDAY((D3-DAY(D3)+7),2)+ 1)

    this formula not working i don't know why.

    • I can't understand and correct your formula, as I don't have your data and can't guess what result this formula should return. The [value_if_true] and [value_if_false] arguments is missing in the IF formula.

  12. Hello I need formula where i can check and balance for Active employee and leave employee month wise.
    if employee is active then his salary continue till end of year and if employee left the company between the year then his salary will be shown till his last month.

    Name Salary Joining Month Leave Month Status January February March April May June July August
    ABC 5,000 January Active 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00
    EFG 2,500 January June Leave 2,500.00 2,500.00 2,500.00 2,500.00 2,500.00 2,500.00
    HIJ 3,500 March Active 3,500.00 3,500.00 3,500.00 3,500.00 3,500.00 3,500.00
    KLM 4,500 April Aug Leave 4,500.00 4,500.00 4,500.00 4,500.00 4,500.00
    Total 7,500.00 7,500.00 11,000.00 15,500.00 15,500.00 15,500.00 13,000.00 13,000.00

      • Thank you Sir,
        for your quick response.

        i know about this formula, but what i need to do, i need to make employee salary list month wise for a year,
        in this list i will mention Employee Joining Month & End Month, and status will be Active & Left. if the employee end month is empty then status will be active and once we mentioned end month then status will change to Left.
        if 1 employee join us on March he leave the company in September, then in this sheet his salary will be shown in March Column till September Column and remaining month will be empty.

        i hope now i make more clear to understand.

        • Appreciate if i get the solution.

          • Thank you sir, you Formula is worked,
            but there is some error.
            if i select Joining date January and leave date march it calculate perfectly but if i select any month after march nothing is showing,
            and once i select the Joining date April and Leave date Dec it will show all correctly.
            so there is something missing in formula,
            2nd if there is no leave date then salary will be shown in month but once i select the leave date then salary will be stop on that month.

            if you can check the problem.

            • Hi! The formula I sent to you was created based on the description you provided in your first request. I have not been able to reproduce your problem. Note how the month names are written down. The formula works with month names as text, as you wrote in your question.

  13. Dear Sir
    Greetings to you

    Kindly could you please guide, how can I link multiple excel sheet with IF formula,
    For Ex: I have 5 excel columns with different dates, and I want to change the If formulated column by updating dates.

    Example:, Chat 1 . received on 1 dec. > start count days, in next colum1
    received response . after days > need to change count days 0 in colum1 and start new count days, in colum2 and so on.


    • Hi! Your task is not completely clear to me. To understand what you want to do, give an example of the source data and the expected result. In which column do you enter the date 1 dec., and what results do you want in the other columns.

  14. When I deduct 2 dates from one another that are exactly 24 hours apart, the answer is returned as zero, not as 24 hours

  15. Hello, please create a formula. I need to get the number of days overdue from the requested delivery date which automatically updates everyday.

    Ex. Today is October 23rd, customer's requested delivery date is on the 20th. So the answer must be 3 days.

  16. Date CELL Repeated Count Ticket#
    02-Sep-23 3000092822 2 Ticket#102922098301
    07-Sep-23 3000092822 2 Ticket#102698554587

    ho can I find difference of dates in days from date column in an other column as I have same values in cell column

  17. Dear Sir

    Once again thank you so much.
    My meaning is how to supply the start date directly to the the formula, use the DATE function

    =IF(AND(B2=Sep/23 "Pass", C2=Oct/23"pass"), "Good!", "Bad")

    Submission date Sep/2023- Receiving comments Oct/2023- Last Rev. No. Good
    Thank you

  18. Dear Sir

    Thank you for your reply.
    My meaning is how to use with date.
    Submission date 10/Sep/2023- Receiving comments 01/Oct/2023- Last Rev. No. Good -Bad

    =IF(AND(B2=10/Sep/2023"Pass", C2=01/Oct/2023"pass"), "Good!", "Bad")

  19. Hello, I need help..

    But I'm not quite sure how to describe it. I wants to count the total numbers of working days based on days with figure > 1.

    Eg. Work day is Mon to Sat. And certain days, the fig 1-100. So instead of counting total numbers, I wants to count it as total working days.

    Mon = 20
    Tues = 40
    Wed = 0
    Thurs = 60
    Fri = 0
    Sat = 0

    So instead of 120, I wants to count it as 3 working days. How do I go about it?

  20. Dear Sir

    we need your support please.
    how to fix this formulas if i have 3 column Ro0.Ro1.Ro2
    if i will type date a cell that come to auto come Ro0 or Ro1 0r Ro2 or and i want just type date and come to

    =IF(F8,G8.H8<=TODAY, "RO0","RO1", "RO2"))
    Thank you

  21. Hello, I created an inventory sheet. I have the count of each item in colum b and my goal is to associate a date in colum d when i enter a value in colum b. Is this even possible

    TYPE Name Date Amount Date2 Amount3
    Pre ABDUL 01-03-2024 2000 03-03-2024 2001
    post KAREEM 04-04-2024 4000 05-04-2024 4001
    post Sharief 03-07-2023 3000 04-07-2023 3001

    I need to enter the date specific in return i need amount of that month how can I enter formula ? to fetch the current month amount

  23. what is the formula of getting the target completion date from the date received plus the SLA/TAT.

  24. How to compute the due date excluding weekends and holidays

  25. If i'm monitoring runoff on a porfolio and each month I go in and change payments made, the fomula I have automatically decreases the payments remaining. However the next column is "next due" date. What formula would I use to advance the date one month ahead when the "payments remaining" column automatically decreases?

    • Hi! Unfortunately, this information is not enough to recommend a formula to you. Describe your task in more detail. Give an example of the source data and the expected result.

      • Hi. The spreadsheet has a loan portfolio. It contains the original amount, the monthly payment, the # of payments made, the # of payments remaining, date of next payment due and the outstanding balance. I go in and update the # of payments made and everyother cell recalculates the data except the next payment due date. I don't know how to formulate the date column to change to the next month (the day stays the same) when the # of paymetns remaining automatically subtracts.
        cost payment term payments made remaining next due contract balance
        $60.00 $1.00 60 48 12 09/20/2023 $12.00

  26. what is the formula to get a result of 20th from a cell containing a August 20, 2023. thanks

  27. I have a date column that auto populates 30 days from a previous colun usign a sum function. I am trying to figure out or nest the workday function into this column so if the 30 day date falls on a sat or sun it would revert to the previous Friday date

  28. i have a date (mmm-yy) in Column A, Column D represents a number (1, 2 or 3) - I wish to write a formula for if column A shows a month/year, and column D shows number 1, new column should show a date 3 months into future.
    Number 1: 1 month into future
    Number 2: 3 months into future
    Number 3: 6 months into future
    Date: Jun-23
    Number: 1
    New Date: Jul-23

    Date Jun-23
    Number: 2
    New Date: Sep-23

    Date: Jun-23
    Number: 3
    New Date: Dec-23


  29. Is it possible to combine dates in text strings to not repeat days, months, or years if both dates have them in common?

    "15 Aug 23-15 Aug 23" would be "15 Aug 23" (day/month/year not repeated)
    "15 Aug 23-16 Aug 23" would be "15-16 Aug 23" (month/year not repeated)
    "15 Aug 23-16 Sep 23" would be "15 Aug-16 Sep 23" (year not repeated)
    "15 Aug 23-16 Jan 24" would be "15 Aug 23-16 Jan 24" (my formula renders this correctly as day/month/year are different)

    Here's the formula I'm currently using to get the first renderings:
    =TEXT(A1,"d mmm yy")&"-"&TEXT(B1,"d mmm yy")
    A1: Start Date
    B1: End Date

    Is this possible? I don't think my current formula is actually on the right path. Is there a way to make Excel return a date range (15-16 Aug 23) given a start date and number of days long (15 Aug 23, 2) or something? Since I have start and end dates, I can calculate length in days in a third column and then use that data in the correct formula in column 4.


    • Okay, so I was able to figure out a work around using IF() formulas after breaking out Month and Year in their own columns to compare against.

      A1: Start Date
      B1: End Date
      C1: Start Month
      D1: End Month
      E1: Start Year
      F1: End Year
      G1: =IF(D1>C1,TEXT(A1,"d mmm"&"-"),IF(A1=B1,"",TEXT(A1,"d"&"-")))&TEXT(B1,"d mmm yy")

      I'm sure there's a cleaner way, but this produces the outcome I want. I realized that the end date is always used, it's the start date that is modified depending on it's commonality to the end date. A one day event only needs to show the end date. An event spanning several days of the same month only needs the days from the start date. An event spanning two months needs the day and month from the start date but not the year. An event spanning two years needs the entire start date with the end date.

      This is probably the most complex thing I've done in Excel. I welcome any feedback!

      • Sorry, copy/paste issues, here is the right formula text string, I also put the logic questions in a logical order:

        A1: Start Date
        B1: End Date
        C1: Event Name
        D1: Start Month C1
        E1: End Month D1
        F1: Start Year E1
        G1: End Year F1
        F1 =(IF(A1=B1,(TEXT(B1,"d mmm yy")),(IF(E1=D1,(TEXT(A1,"d")&"-"&TEXT(B1, "d mmm yy")),IF(F1=G1,(TEXT(A1,"d mmm")&"-"&TEXT(B1, "d mmm yy")),(TEXT(A1,"d mmm yy")&"-"&TEXT(B1,"d mmm yy"))))))&": "&C1)

  30. Hi,

    I am looking to create a formula that will take the date from one cell (say it is cell B2, data is 08/02/2023) and in a new cell, have an IF statement that would produce the following:

    If the date in cell B2 is less than the date in G2 (which is currently a formula of if(isblank(B2),"",B2+30) the new cell would be labeled as "On Hold" but if the date in B2 is greater than the date in G2 the new cell would be labeled as "Past Due".

    This would need to be two arguments, but I am killing myself trying to figure it out and haven't been able to find the correct way to write the formula.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

  31. I want to convert 11.50 to years months and days, ex: 11.50 is 11 years 6 months and 0days

  32. I am trying to create a clock calendar counter in excel.

    if i have one column start date 7/1/203 the next column want an auto set counter to count 21 days from prior date then next column to count 30 days from previous date and last count 90 days from previous date

    Thank you

  33. how to sum total in excel output same format in excel
    1 years, 9 months, 26 days
    1 years, 8 months, 25 days
    0 years, 3 months, 11 days
    0 years, 5 months, 0 days

  34. I am trying to set a formula for days counter
    To subtract a date from today's date: =TODAY()-DATE(2015,5,20) The formula calculates how many days are between the current date and some other ...
    I use a date entered in separate column -- say "H"
    so result "L" = (TODAY()-(Hxx)) where xx is the line-number
    but I need to use a condition as follows:
    if value in column "K" is null or non-numeric (as text), then "L" = (TODAY()-(Hxx)), otherwise "L" = (TODAY()-(Kxx))
    i.e. I need to use a date from column "H" or column "K", depending on - whether the date is entered in column "K". But if column "K" is blank or has some notes (optional), then the conditional formula should use value of the column "H".
    Could anyone suggest that type of conditional formula?
    Thank you

  35. December, 21 2022 Date Change Formate 21/12/2022

  36. Hello, I need your help to get a formula to calculate below,

    below are the dates and holidays. Please recreate the formula to get exact working hours on monthly.

    Conditions : -

    23 March to 1o April - 6 working hours per day
    11 April to 19 April - 5 working hours per day
    23 march to april 19 - 3 working hours on friday
    Rest of the working days - 8 working hours and 6 working hours on friday

    Date Holidays
    January 20-Apr-23
    March 27-Jun-23
    April 28-Jun-23
    May 29-Jun-23
    June 30-Jun-23
    July 01-Dec-23

  37. Can you correct a date where the month was incorrectly entered as a year??
    For example:
    Jan 1, 2023 was entered as '2001-1-23'

    How can I correct it to read '01/01/23'

    • Split this value into text strings with "-" delimiters using the TEXTSPLIT function. Use these in the DATE function to get the date.
      You can find more information about the CHOOSECOLS function in this article.


      I recommend paying attention to the Convert Text to Date tool. This simple tool easily converts text strings of different formats to dates without formulas. It is available as a part of our Ultimate Suite for Excel that you can install in a trial mode and check how it works for free.

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