How To Subtract Dates In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide

Key Takeaway:

  • Before subtracting dates in Excel, it is essential to understand the date format and functions in Excel. Date functions like TODAY() and NOW() can simplify date entries and are useful in date calculations.
  • Subtracting dates in Excel can be easily done using the DATEDIF, YEARFRAC, and NETWORKDAYS functions. The DATEDIF function is useful in calculating differences in years, months, and days while the YEARFRAC function calculates date differences in years, months, and fractions of a year.
  • For advanced date calculations in Excel, there are functions for subtracting specific days, calculating differences in hours and minutes, and more. To avoid errors in date calculations, it is important to check the date format, values, and formula syntax.

Are you struggling to find the number of days between two dates in Excel? Learn how to subtract dates in Excel with this simple step-by-step guide and make date calculations easier. You’ll be a pro in no time!

Excel Date Basics

I work a lot with Excel. So, I understand how important it is to know its features. Working with dates can be tricky. That’s why in this guide, I’m looking at Excel Date Basics. We’ll dive into Understanding Excel Date Format and Learning Date Functions in Excel. I’m giving practical insights and tips for mastering Excel dates. Let’s start!

Understanding Excel Date Format

Mastering the date format in Excel can be easy. Here’s a three-step guide to help you out.

  1. Step 1: Understand Date Format. Dates are stored as numbers, which represent the number of days since January 1st, 1900.
  2. Step 2: Check Out the Different Formats. Excel has plenty of options for you to choose from. You can even customize one with time settings.
  3. Step 3: Know When a Cell Has the Correct Format. If a cell appears like Day/Month/Year, it’s recognized by Excel as a date.

Pay attention to how each cell is formatted. Otherwise, it can be hard to correct mistakes. For example, if John inputs 10 days starting on October 5th, 2021, but the column isn’t formatted correctly, Excel won’t recognize it as a date.

Next, we’ll look at date functions to help format dates further.

Learning Date Functions in Excel

To start, figure out which formulas are relevant. Excel offers more than twenty functions related to dates and times only. You don’t have to commit them all to memory – just focus on the mainstream ones such as TODAY(), DATEVALUE(), YEAR(), MONTH(), DAY(), HOUR() and MINUTE().

Second, get an understanding of how each function works and how they can be combined to get the output you desire. Don’t forget to double-check the formulas for accuracy.

Third, always keep track of new numbers entering your spreadsheet so you have up-to-date info.

It may seem daunting to mess around with date functions, but don’t worry – it’s just a matter of getting used to it! In the long run, date functions can be very helpful for complicated projects or reports. They can auto-update figures depending on changes to other cells. For example, you can use Excel’s EOMONTH() function to get all invoices due at the end of each month, without manually checking them one by one.

With practice, you’ll see how versatile this tool is for calculating intervals between two dates, sorting data chronologically or getting specific info such as weekday or quarter. Pro Tip: Keep formulas consistent across files so co-workers can quickly identify what is going on in your spreadsheet.

When it comes to subtracting dates in Excel, you may think that subtracting one date from another equals an exact number of days – but this isn’t always true. In the next section, we’ll explain how ignoring weekends or holidays, and accounting for leap years, could affect the final result.

How to Subtract Dates in Excel

I’m thrilled to present you a full guide on how to subtract dates in Excel! It can be confusing to choose from numerous formulas and functions. Therefore, this guide focuses on three functions which make date subtraction easy: DATEDIF, YEARFRAC, and NETWORKDAYS. Each of these functions provide distinct ways to subtract dates, and can satisfy many needs. Let’s explore and discover how simple date subtraction is in Excel!

Using DATEDIF Function

Subtracting dates in Excel? The DATEDIF function can help! Enter the start and end date, separated by commas, into the parenthesis. The third argument should be “y” for years, “m” for months, or “d” for days.

Note: If the dates have different years or months, only the whole years or months will be returned as integers.

For example: To find out how many full months are between March 31st and May 30th of different years, like 2020 and 2021? The answer is one month.

If you need both month and day values, calculate them separately and then add them together.

Another useful function is YEARFRAC.

Using YEARFRAC Function

YEARFRAC function is an easy way to subtract dates in Excel. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  1. Open up your Excel workbook and select the cell you want the result to be displayed.
  2. Type =YEARFRAC( into that cell – no quotes.
  3. Enter the start date of your date range in double quotes. For example, “01/06/2019“.
  4. Enter a comma, then the end date of your range – e.g. “02/14/2020“.
  5. End with a closing parenthesis and hit enter.

YEARFRAC returns a decimal value, which is the number of years between two dates. It can even calculate fractions of a year – such as quarters or months.

Be sure to enter quotations marks and commas properly – any tiny mistake can give incorrect results.

Using this function can save you hours of subtraction work! Now, let’s look at the NETWORKDAYS function.

Using NETWORKDAYS Function

Subtracting dates in Excel? Use the NETWORKDAYS function! It calculates the num of workdays between two dates, without weekends & holidays. Here’s a four-step guide:

  1. Select an empty cell where you want the result.
  2. Type =NETWORKDAYS( into the cell.
  3. Enter the start date, followed by a comma.
  4. Enter the end date, followed by a closing parenthesis.

For example: =NETWORKDAYS(“1/1/2022″,”1/15/2022”) This will give an int representing the num of workdays between those dates.

You can also add a third argument defining a range of cells containing holiday dates to exclude from the calculation.

Pro Tip: If you want to include weekends in the calculation, use the WORKDAY function instead.

Ready to explore some more advanced date calculations in Excel? Let’s go!

Advanced Date Calculations in Excel

Ready to step up your Excel game? We’ll dive into advanced date calculations. Learn how to subtract dates like a pro! We’ve got you covered – here’s the guide:

  1. Subtract specific days from a date.
  2. Calculate the difference between two dates – years, months, and days.
  3. Find the difference between two dates in hours and minutes.

With these skills, you’ll be able to tackle complex date calculations!

Subtracting Specific Days from a Date

Need to subtract days from a date in Excel? Easy! Here’s how:

  1. Enter the date in a cell.
  2. In another cell, enter the number of days to subtract.
  3. Select a cell for the result.
  4. Enter the formula: =original_date – days_to_subtract.
  5. Press “Enter” and you’re done!

Subtracting days is useful for many reasons. For example, if you need to know what day it will be 100 days from now. Save time and use this calculation.

Now move onto more advanced calculations.

Calculate Date Differences in Years, Months, and Days. Use this to calculate total work experience, time taken for projects, etc.

Calculating Date Differences in Years, Months, and Days

Create two columns of dates; “Start Date” and “End Date“, with your desired date format.

Subtract the “Start Date” from the “End Date” using the DATEDIF function. Type “=DATEDIF(“, then select or type in the start date cell reference, followed by a comma and the end date cell reference. Add a comma and a string letter for each time unit you’re calculating (i.e., Y for years, M for months, D for days).

Press enter and see your result! Format the cell containing the result as General to display days above 31.

To calculate date differences in hours & minutes, buckle up and let’s check it out!

Calculating Date Differences in Hours and Minutes

Are you having trouble calculating date differences in hours and minutes? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! Follow these steps:

  1. Enter your dates correctly as dates, not text.
  2. Subtract the earlier date from the later date. This will give you the difference in days.
  3. Multiply this result by 24 to convert days to hours, since there are 24 hours in a day.
  4. To get the remaining minutes, subtract the whole number of hours from your total and then multiply it by 60.
  5. If you’d like seconds too, repeat the same process and multiply the remaining decimal by 60.

Pro Tip: When working with time differences across multiple days, add up all the hours first before calculating any remaining minutes or seconds.

Now that you’ve learned how to calculate date differences, you’re ready for our next lesson: ‘Fixing Date Calculation Errors‘. We’ll show you common mistakes people make and how to fix them easily!

Fixing Date Calculation Errors

Hours spent on an Excel sheet, trying to subtract dates, with wrong results? Don’t worry! We are here for you. In this part, we’ll show you a logical way to avoid date calculation errors. We’ll guide you through 3 subsections: Date format checking, Date value checking and Formula syntax checking. This will help you locate mistakes and stop them before they cause serious problems.

Ready to learn? Let’s go!

Checking Date Format

When it comes to working with dates in Excel, always check the date format first. Ignore this at your peril, as a correct format will help Excel recognize your data as dates and let you do calculations.

Six steps to get it right:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells with dates.
  2. Right-click and choose Format Cells.
  3. In the Number tab, select ‘Date’ in the Category list.
  4. Pick the desired date format from the Type list.
  5. Press OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  6. Your dates should be good to go!

But bear in mind that different places have different date formats. If your sheet was made elsewhere, you may have to switch it to match your own. For instance, MM/DD/YYYY (month/day/year) might be used in one place, while another favours DD/MM/YYYY (day/month/year).

Verifying this info now will save you trouble later – all your formulas will be accurate and no errors will occur. So take the time to make sure dates are correctly formatted, and you won’t regret it!

Checking Date Values

Select the cell(s) which contain date values from the Home tab on Excel’s ribbon. Click the Number Format drop-down menu and choose Date. Verify that all the dates are formatted correctly. If not, correct them.

It’s essential that all the date values have a consistent format. Otherwise, calculations based on dates may have errors. Checking for errors regularly helps avoid time-wasting. Also, accurate inputs help with data analysis and relevant insights. A study by shows that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day. To make sense of this data, accurate inputs are must. Now, let’s move on to Checking Formula Syntax.

Checking Formula Syntax

To ensure accurate calculations in Excel, it’s important to check the syntax of your formulas. ‘Checking Formula Syntax’ is crucial for making sure the formula is written correctly. Here’s a five-step guide:

  1. Check functions, operators, and cell references are correct.
  2. Make sure all opening parentheses have closing parentheses.
  3. Check ranges and cell references are correct.
  4. Check arguments are correct by checking the function’s help document.
  5. Check for spelling or grammar errors.

Excel will give an error message when there’s an issue with the syntax. Double-checking the formula after writing prevents time wasted correcting mistakes later. It’s also essential to make sure all cell references are valid.

Veteran Excel users can still make errors with formula construction – ‘Checking Formula Syntax’ is necessary for all users, regardless of experience. Incorrect data entry and referencing pasted items can cause issues with dates or calculations, and this step detects and fixes it quickly.
I once forgot to close a bracket in a complex nested formula for forecasting our business finance analysis project results. Going through each step of ‘Checking Formula Syntax’ enabled us to quickly fix the mistake, saving us time and money!

Some Facts About How to Subtract Dates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide:

  • ✅ Excel calculates dates as serial numbers, with each day represented as a whole number starting from January 1, 1900. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ To subtract two dates in Excel, simply subtract the earlier date from the later date, and format the result as a date. (Source: Techwalla)
  • ✅ Excel offers several functions to perform calculations with dates, including DATEDIF, which calculates the difference between two dates in various units. (Source: Exceljet)
  • ✅ When subtracting dates in Excel, be sure to use valid date formats and account for leap years. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ Subtracting dates in Excel can be useful in business and finance, such as calculating the number of days between invoice dates and payment due dates. (Source: Investopedia)

FAQs about How To Subtract Dates In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Subtract Dates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

What is the formula used for subtracting dates in Excel?

The formula used for subtracting dates in Excel is “=A2-B2” where A2 and B2 are the cells containing the dates you want to subtract.

Can I subtract dates with different formats?

Yes, Excel automatically converts different date formats to a common format, so you can subtract dates with different formats.

How can I display the result in days instead of hours, minutes, and seconds?

To display the result in days, you can apply the number format “d” or “dd” to the cell containing the formula. This will convert hours, minutes, and seconds to the number of days.

What if I want to subtract a certain number of days from a date?

You can do this by subtracting the number of days from the date using the formula “=A2-7” where A2 is the cell containing the date and 7 is the number of days you want to subtract.

Can I subtract dates using functions?

Yes, you can use the DATEDIF function in Excel to subtract dates. The formula is “=DATEDIF(start_date,end_date,unit)” where start_date and end_date are the two dates you want to subtract and unit is the unit of time you want to display the result in (days, months, or years).