## How to use the DATE function

The DATE function returns a number that acts as a date in the Excel environment. The image above shows you the DATE function in column E. It uses three arguments, the first argument is the year found in column B.

The second argument is the month, shown in column C. Note that you need to use a number for the month.

The third argument is the day of the month, displayed in column D. Make sure you enter the correct day for the month, keep in mind most months have 30 days or 31 days. February has 28 days except for leap years that have 29 days.

### Table of Contents

- Excel function syntax
- Function arguments
- Add or subtract months and days
- Date function example
- What does the Date function do?
- Date function format
- Date function not working
- How to make Excel order by date
- Date function add days
- Date function subtract days
- Date function add months
- Last day of a given month
- Get Excel file

## 1. Excel function syntax

DATE(*year*, *month*, day)

## 2. Arguments

year |
A number equal or higher than 1900. |

month |
A number between 1 (January) and 12 (December). You can use larger numbers as well. |

day |
A number between 1 and 31 based on the number of days in the month specified in argument month. |

## 3. Add or subtract months and days

If you use a month number larger than 12, for example 13, DATE(2009,13,1) the DATE function returns 1/1/2010. Month number zero returns the previous month.

The same thing happens with a day number that is larger than 31 or smaller than 1.

You can use that to do dynamic date series or do date-based calculations.

## 4. Date function example

The image above demonstrates the date function in column E, it uses values from column B, C and D.

Formula in cell F3:

## 5. What does the Date function do?

The DATE function returns an Excel date that you can use in formulas, Excel can't calculate dates in formulas unless you reference a cell containing an Excel date or create an Excel date using the DATE function.

Hardcoding dates in a formula are not possible, use the DATE function to create an Excel date.

* Why is that?
*Excel uses numbers formatted as dates, 1 is 1/1/1900, and 1/1/2000 is 36526.

* Prove it?
*Sure, type 1 in a cell and press Enter. Select the cell and press CTRL + 1 to format the cell.

A dialog box appears, select Date in Category: and press the "OK" button.

Number 1 is now formatted as an Excel date, the cell shows 1/1/1900.

## 6. Date function format

The animated image above shows you the "Format Cells" dialog box, it allows you to choose from many different date formatting types. Here is how:

- Select the cell.
- Press CTRL + 1 to open the "Format Cells" dialog box.
- Select Date in the Category:, see the image above.
- Pick a formatting type.
- Press with left mouse button on "OK" button to apply changes.

You can also use the TEXT function to format dates.

Formula in cell B2:

### Explaining formula in cell B2

#### Step 1 - Create an Excel date

The DATE function calculates a serial number that represents a specific date based on three arguments. Year, month, and day.

DATE(*year*, *month*, *day*)

DATE(1900, 1, 1)

returns 1.

#### Step 2 - Return a number formatted as a date

The TEXT function formats a cell value based on given placeholder characters.

TEXT(*value*, *format_text*)

TEXT(DATE(1900, 1, 1), "d-m-yyyy")

becomes

TEXT(1, "d-m-yyyy")

and returns 1-1-1900.

## 7. Date function not working

- Did you spell the DATE function correctly?

Excel returns a #NAME? error if you didn't. - Check the arguments, they must be numerical. Text is not allowed.

Excel returns a #VALUE! error if any of the arguments contain a text value.

*year*- a number equal or larger than 0 (zero)

*month*- any number positive or negative

day - any number positive or negative - Did you use exactly three arguments?

Excel returns a dialog box: You've entered too many arguments for this function.

DATE(*year*,*month*, day) - Excel Date function returns the wrong date.

If you try a year before 1900 Excel returns a date that you probably didn't expect. Here is how Excel came up with that date. 1900+1800 = 1/1/3700 - The DATE function returns hashtags.

The DATE function can't return dates before 1/1/1900. The formula in cell B2 above tries to calculate an Excel date before 1/1/1900.

## 8. How to make Excel order by date

The image above shows a list of dates in column B, here is how to sort the dates.

- Press with right mouse button on any date in column B.

A popup menu appears.

- Press "Sort". Another popup menu appears.
- Press either "Sort Oldest to Newest" or "Sort Newest to Oldest".

Here is how to sort the dates using a formula.

Formula in cell D2:

### Explaining formula in cell D2

#### Step 1 - Create a sequence of values from 1 to n

The ROWS function returns a number based on the number of rows in a cell reference.

ROWS(*ref*)

ROWS($A$1:A1)

returns 1.

#### Step 2 - Extract k-th largest serial number

The LARGE function calculates the k-th largest number.

LARGE(*array*, *k*)

LARGE($B$2:$B$17, ROWS($A$1:A1))

becomes

LARGE($B$2:$B$17, 1)

becomes

LARGE({45338; 53253; 49446; 51878; 48237; 52238; 44437; 53971; 49050; 47745; 45727; 45027; 49156; 49329; 48599; 49590}, 1)

and returns 53971 (10/6/2047) in cell D2.

## 9. Date function add days

The formula in cell C3 adds 10/25/2024 with 10 days specified in cell B3.

Formula in cell C3:

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Add dates

The plus sign lets you add numbers in Excel formulas.

25+B3

becomes

25 + 10 equals 35.

#### Step 2 - Calculate serial number representing an Excel date

The DATE function calculates a serial number that represents a specific date based on three arguments. Year, month, and day.

DATE(*year*, *month*, *day*)

DATE(2024,10,25+B3)

becomes

DATE(2024,10,35)

and returns 45600 formatted as 11/4/2024 in cell C3.

## 10. Date function subtract days

The formula in cell C3 subtracts 10/25/2024 with 10 days specified in cell B3.

Formula in cell C3:

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Subtract dates

The minus sign lets you subtract numbers in Excel formulas.

25-B3

becomes

25 - 10 equals 15.

#### Step 2 - Calculate serial number representing an Excel date

The DATE function calculates a serial number that represents a specific date based on three arguments. Year, month, and day.

DATE(*year*, *month*, *day*)

DATE(2024,10,25-B3)

becomes

DATE(2024,10,15)

and returns 45580 formatted as 11/4/2024 in cell C3.

## 11. Date function add months

The formula in cell E3 adds months based on the number in cell B3 to a date specified in cell C3.

Formula in cell C3:

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Calculate year

The YEAR function returns a number representing the year based on an Excel date (serial number).

YEAR(*serial_number*)

YEAR(C3)

becomes

YEAR(1/14/2024)

becomes

YEAR(45305)

and returns 2024.

#### Step 2 - Calculate month

The MONTH function returns a number representing a month. 1 - January, ..., 12 - December.

MONTH(*serial_number*)

MONTH(C3)+B3

becomes

MONTH(45305)+10

becomes

1+10 equals 11.

#### Step 3 - Calculate day

The DAY function returns a number representing the day from an Excel date (serial number).

DAY(C3)

becomes

DAY(45305)

and returns 14.

#### Step 4 - Calculate date

DATE(*year*, *month*, *day*)

DATE(YEAR(C3), MONTH(C3)+B3, DAY(C3))

becomes

DATE(2014, 11, 14)

and returns 45610 (11/14/2024).

## 12. Last day of a given month

The formula in cell D3 calculates the last day for a given month based on a date in cell B3. The date is 1/1/2024, the last day in January 2024 is 31.

The way this works is that the formula adds one month to the date in cell B3 then subtracts with 1 to get the last date of the previous month.

Formula in cell C3:

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Calculate year

The YEAR function returns a number representing the year based on an Excel date (serial number).

YEAR(*serial_number*)

YEAR(B3)

becomes

YEAR(1/1/2024)

becomes

YEAR(45292)

and returns 2024.

#### Step 2 - Calculate month

The MONTH function returns a number representing a month. 1 - January, ..., 12 - December.

MONTH(*serial_number*)

MONTH(B3)+1

becomes

MONTH(45292)+1

becomes

1+1 equals 2.

#### Step 3 - Calculate day

The DAY function returns a number representing the day from an Excel date (serial number).

DAY(B3)

becomes

DAY(45292)

and returns 1.

#### Step 4 - Calculate the date

DATE(*year*, *month*, *day*)

DATE(YEAR(B3),MONTH(B3)+1,1)-1

becomes

DATE(2014, 2, 1)-1

becomes

45323-1

and returns 45322 (1/31/2024).

## 13. Get Excel file

### 'DATE' function examples

The following 29 articles contain the DATE function.

This article demonstrates a formula that returns a date based on a week number and a weekday like Sun to […]

The formula in cell C3 calculates the last date for the given month and year in cell B3. =DATE(YEAR(B3), MONTH(B3)+1, […]

This article describes how to build a calendar showing all days in a chosen month with corresponding scheduled events. What's […]

The formula in cell D18 counts unique distinct months in cell range B3:B16. Formula in D18: =SUMPRODUCT((FREQUENCY(DATE(YEAR($B$3:$B$16), MONTH($B$3:$B$16), 1), DATE(YEAR($B$3:$B$16), […]

This post demonstrates how to build an array formula that counts unique distinct values based on criteria. What's on this […]

Question: I am trying to create an excel spreadsheet that has a date range. Example: Cell A1 1/4/2009-1/10/2009 Cell B1 […]

The drop down calendar in the image above uses a "calculation" sheet and a named range. You can copy the drop-down […]

Question: How do I create a list of dates with blanks between each quarter? (Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4) Answer: […]

I will demonstrate three different techniques to build monthly date ranges in this article. Two of these techniques are easy because they […]

I will demonstrate three different methods to build quarterly date ranges in this article. The two first methods have a […]

This article demonstrates a formula that creates date ranges based on a given number of days and the end date […]

The DATEVALUE function returns an Excel date value (serial number) based on a date stored as text. However, it must […]

The DATEDIF function in cell E3 allows you to calculate days between two dates.

This workbook contains two worksheets, one worksheet shows a calendar and the other worksheet is used to store events. The […]

Sam asks: One more question for the Calendar that you have set up above can we have a excel formula […]

This article demonstrates a formula that returns a date range that a date falls under, cell C3 above contains the […]

Excel has a built-in feature that allows you to highlight dates if a given condition is met. Section 1 below […]

This article demonstrates how to highlight given date ranges in a yearly calendar, this calendar allows you to change the […]

This article demonstrates two formulas, the first formula counts items by quarter and the second formula extracts the corresponding items […]

The image above shows the performance across industry groups for different date ranges, conditional formatting makes the table much easier […]

The TBILLPRICE function calculates the equivalent bond yield for a Treasury bill. Formula in cell C6: =TBILLEQ(C2,C3,C4) Excel Function Syntax TBILLEQ(settlement, […]

This article demonstrates formulas that show if a date range is overlapping another date range. The second section shows how […]

This article demonstrates a formula that extracts unique distinct records/rows for a given month specified in cell C2, see the […]

The image above shows a calendar that is dynamic meaning you choose year and month and the calendar instantly updates […]

I have created another monthly calendar template for you to get. Select a month and year in cells A1 and […]

I will in this article demonstrate a calendar that automatically highlights dates based on date ranges, the calendar populates names […]

Below is an excel table containing recurring expenses and corresponding amounts, dates and recurring intervals. An excel table allows you to […]

This schedule uses the year and month in cell D1 and K1 to highlight activities like vacation specified in the […]

What's on this page How to use this Excel Calendar How to add events How I built this calendar Worksheet […]

## Functions in this article

### Functions in 'Date and Time' category

The DATE function function is one of many functions in the 'Date and Time' category.

## How to comment

How to add a formula to your comment<code>Insert your formula here.</code>

Convert less than and larger than signsUse html character entities instead of less than and larger than signs.

< becomes < and > becomes >

How to add VBA code to your comment[vb 1="vbnet" language=","]

Put your VBA code here.

[/vb]

How to add a picture to your comment:Upload picture to postimage.org or imgur

Paste image link to your comment.

Contact OscarYou can contact me through this contact form