Calculate the difference between two dates

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Let's say that you want find out how many days a customer takes to pay a bill or how long it takes to ship a product upon receipt of an approved order. There are several ways to calculate the difference between two dates.

What do you want to do?


Calculate the number of days between two dates

To do this task, use the subtraction (-) operator or the NETWORKDAYS function as shown in the following example.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow do I copy an example?

  1. Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Web App, copy and paste one cell at a time.Important Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  3. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Web App, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.

Important For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  1. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.


 
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A B
Date
6/8/2007
6/20/2007
Formula Description (Result)
=A3-A2 Days between the two dates (12)
=NETWORKDAYS(A2,A3) Weekdays between the two dates (9)

 Note    You can format the dates as numbers. Select the cell and, on the Home tab, in the Number group, click the arrow, and then click Number.

For more information about how to use this function, see NETWORKDAYS function.

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Calculate the number of months between two dates

To do this task, use the MONTH and YEAR functions as shown in the following example.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow do I copy an example?

  1. Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Web App, copy and paste one cell at a time.Important Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  3. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Web App, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.

Important For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  1. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.


 
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A B
Date
6/9/2007
9/2/2007
12/10/2008
Formula Description (Result)
=MONTH(A3)-MONTH(A2) Months occurring between two dates in the same year (3)
=(YEAR(A4)-YEAR(A3))*12+MONTH(A4)-MONTH(A3) Months occurring between two dates more than a year apart (15)

 Note    You can format the dates as numbers. Select the cell, and on the Home tab, in the Number group, click the arrow, and then click Number.

For more information about how to use these functions, see MONTH function and YEAR function.

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Calculate the number of years between two dates

To do this task, use the YEAR function as shown in the following example.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow do I copy an example?

  1. Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Web App, copy and paste one cell at a time.Important Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  3. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Web App, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.

Important For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  1. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.


 
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5
A B
Date
6/9/2007
6/4/2010
Formula Description (Result)
=YEAR(A3)-YEAR(A2) Years occurring between two dates (3)


 Notes 

  • You can format the dates as numbers. Select the cell and, on the Home tab, in the Number group, click the arrow, and then click Number.
  • If you subtract a later date from an earlier date, the error #### appears in the cell.

For more information about how to use this function, see YEAR function.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007, Excel 2003