# How to use the DATEDIF function

**What is the DATEDIF function?**

The DATEDIF function returns the number of days, or months, or years between two dates. The DATEDIF function exists in order to ensure compatibility with Louts 1-2-3.

**DATEDIF function not found?**

You may think that the DATEDIF function is not in Excel when you type the function in the formula bar. The DATEDIF function is not missing, however, it doesn't show up in the list.

Type the DATEDIF function, the beginning parentheses, the arguments, the closing parentheses, and it will work.

**What are dates in Excel?**

Dates are stored numerically but formatted to display in human-readable date/time formats, this enables Excel to do work with dates in calculations.

For example, dates are stored as sequential serial numbers with 1 being January 1, 1900 by default. The integer part (whole number) represents the date the decimal part represents the time.

This allows dates to easily be formatted to display in many date/time formatsÂ like mm/dd/yyyy, dd/mm/yyyy and so on and still be part of calculations as long as the date is stored numerically in a cell.

### Table of Contents

## 1. DATEDIF function Syntax

DATEDIF(*start_date*,*end_date*,*unit*)

Note, this function shows no arguments in the formula bar.

## 2. DATEDIF function Arguments

start_date |
Required. The beginning date of the range you want to calculate. |

end_date |
Required. The ending date of the period. |

unit |
Required. This determines what the function returns. See table below. |

Unit argument

Unit |
Output |

"Y" |
Complete years in the range. |

"M" |
Complete months in the range. |

"D" |
Days in the range. |

"MD" |
Months and years of the dates are ignored. Don't use this argument, may return incorrect results. |

"YM" |
Returns months. Days and years of the date arguments are ignored. |

"YD" |
Returns days. The years of the date arguments are ignored. |

## 3.Â DATEDIF example - calculate complete years between two dates

This example demonstrates how to calculate complete years between two given dates using the DATEDIF function. The first date is specified in cell B3 and the second date in cell C3.

Formula in cell D3:

The third argument determines the unit to calculate, in this case, it is "Y" which stands for year. Excel returns 2 in cell D3 meaning there are two complete years between "1/4/2013" and "1/6/2015".

## 4. DATEDIF example - calculate days between two dates

This example shows how to calculate days between two given dates using the DATEDIF function. The first date is specified in cell B4 and the second date in cell C4.

Formula in cell D4:

The third argument determines the unit to calculate, in this case, it is "D" which stands for day. Excel returns 582 in cell D4 meaning there are 582 days between "11/20/2010" and "6/24/2012".

There is an easier way to calculate days between two dates in Excel, simply subtract the dates.

Formula in cell D4:

For example,

the first date is 1/1/2030 and the second date is 1/2/2030, both calculations return 1 day, however, you may think it is two days between the dates. This is because if you calculate the end date inclusive or not.

If you want to calculate the end date also included then use this:

Formula in cell D4:

The picture above shows you this issue in cellÂ E4.

A much easier formula is to simply subtract the earlier date from the later date. Excel dates are actually numbers between 1 and 99999 formatted as dates, this allows you to do mathematical operations to dates.

You can see that yourself by selecting a cell containing a date and then press CTRL + 1. This opens a dialog box where you can see how the cell is formatted.

Press with mouse on General to show the number. 1/1/2017 is in fact 42736. Number 1 is 1/1/1900.

If you use dates and time and want to calculate the number of days and hours between two dates use the following formula:

The result is displayed in cell F5 on the picture above.

INT(C5-B5)& " days "

The INT function removes the decimal part from the number returning complete days. The & (ampersand) concatenates the number with the text string " days".

HOUR(B5-C5-INT(B5-C5))&" hours"

The HOURÂ function returns a number representing the hour. The decimal part of the number is the time, in this case, hours. To get the decimal part simply subtract the integer part from the number, this is where the INT function comes in.

Lastly, the ampersand & character concatenates the hour number with " hours". You can get even greater detail by using the MINUTE and SECOND functions as well.

### Get Excel *.xlsx

## 5. Calculate days between two dates ignoring the years

This example demonstrates how to calculate days between two given dates ignoring the years using the DATEDIF function. The first date is specified in cell B3 and the second date in cell C3.

Formula in cell D5:

The third argument determines the unit to calculate, in this case, it is "YD" which stands for days ignoring years. Excel returns 276 in cell D5 meaning there are 276 days between November 20th and June 24th.

## 6. Calculate complete months between two dates

This example displays how to calculate complete months between two given dates using the DATEDIF function. The first date is specified in cell B6 and the second date in cell C6.

Formula in cell D6:

The third argument determines the unit to calculate, in this case, it is "M" which stands for complete months. Excel returns 14 in cell D6 meaning there are 14 complete months between "8/15/2013" and "10/27/2014".

## 7. DATEDIF function not working

Don't use the "MD" argument, it may return incorrect results.

Make sure Excel recognizes the date as an Excel date. If the date is interpreted as a text value no calculations can be done.

### 'DATEDIF' function examples

### Functions in 'Date and Time' category

The DATEDIF function function is one of 22 functions in the 'Date and Time' category.

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