This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the DATEVALUE function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.
The DATEVALUE function converts a date that is stored as text to a serial number that Excel recognizes as a date. For example, the formula =DATEVALUE("1/1/2008") returns 39448, the serial number of the date 1/1/2008.
Note The serial number returned by the DATEVALUE function can vary from the preceding example, depending on your computer's system date settings.
The DATEVALUE function is helpful in cases where a worksheet contains dates in a text format that you want to filter, sort, or format as dates, or use in date calculations.
To view a date serial number as a date, you must apply a date format to the cell. Find links to more information about displaying numbers as dates in the See Also section.
The DATEVALUE function syntax has the following arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.):
Using the default date system in Microsoft Excel for Windows, the date_text argument must represent a date between January 1, 1900 and December 31, 9999. The DATEVALUE function returns the #VALUE! error value if the value of the date_text argument falls outside of this range.
If the year portion of the date_text argument is omitted, the DATEVALUE function uses the current year from your computer's built-in clock. Time information in the date_text argument is ignored.
- Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so that they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2008 is serial number 39448 because it is 39,447 days after January 1, 1900.
- Most functions automatically convert date values to serial numbers.
Use the embedded workbook shown here to work with examples of this function. You can inspect and change existing formulas, enter your own formulas, and read further information about how the function works.
To work in-depth with this workbook, you can download it to your computer and open it in Excel. For more information, see the article Download an embedded workbook from SkyDrive and open it on your computer.