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

Key Takeaways:

  • The Excel date system is fundamental to understanding how to add dates in Excel. Learning about the different date formats and the various functions available can help you get the most out of your data.
  • You can manually enter dates in Excel by simply inputting them in a single cell or using the AutoFill feature to enter dates automatically. Utilizing date formulas, such as calculating the difference between two dates, can save you time and reduce the risk of errors.
  • Date functions in Excel, such as TODAY() and NOW(), are useful for automatically inserting the current date and time into a cell or extracting specific components of a date, such as the year, month, or day. Customizing the date format can also improve readability and accessibility of your data.

Are you looking for an easy way to add dates in Excel? You’re in luck! This step-by-step guide will show you how to quickly and accurately create date formulas to get the results you need. Easily master date functions and take your Excel capabilities to the next level.

A Comprehensive Guide to Adding Dates in Excel

Ever thought of adding dates in Excel quickly and easily? Fear not! Here’s your guide. We’ll explore all about Adding Dates in Excel. From grasping the Excel Date System to spotting the various date functions in Excel.

First, we’ll begin with the basics of the Excel Date System. Then, we’ll look into the date formats you must know.

Now, get your Excel sheets and let’s add some dates!

Understanding the Excel Date System

Excel stores dates as numerical values, which is great for operations. The date is saved as a four or five-digit number, where the integer stands for the number of days since January 1st, 1990. Excel takes note of leap years with an extra day on February 29th every four years. But, the values change depending on your computer’s timezone settings – make sure they are correct! Microsoft assigns zero to January 1st in their spreadsheet software, so the date is represented by the value “0” instead of “1”. To display the numerical value as a date format, go to the “Number Format” menu and select either “Short Date” or “Long Date”. This way, you can view the actual date instead of numbers.

If you struggle with formatting or calculating dates on spreadsheets, don’t worry – there are many online resources you can use for help. Consider checking out tutorials or forums to get a better understanding of the syntax and codes of dates in Excel. It’s also beneficial to start with basic calculations first, rather than diving in recklessly! Familiarizing with Different Date Formats in Excel can help you further organise your work – let’s dive in!

Familiarizing with Different Date Formats in Excel

Click on the cell to format as a date. Go to the Home tab and click the drop-down menu under Number Format, select More Number Formats. Under Category, choose Date. In the Type list, pick a date format that suits you best. Once you’ve selected the preferred style, click OK. Your chosen cells will now display dates in your chosen format.

Step 6: To change the already formatted date to a different style, repeat Steps 2-5.

Dates in Microsoft Excel are represented by serial numbers. There are two systems for representing dates: number series & text formats. The first uses a serial number of days since January 1st of year one. The second uses words or numerical values to denote a specific day or day & time.

Different date formats can be confusing, even with all the info. You must know the date formats used in your industry and how they match up to avoid confusion.

Once, I helped a colleague with a report that had tasks assigned between teams. They had similar deadlines but different time frames. It turned out that some used Excel’s default settings and others had adjusted theirs. We solved this issue by standardizing our date format and understanding the various formats to avoid misinterpretations.

It’s important to gain knowledge on the types of date functions used in Excel to use spreadsheets more efficiently.

Identifying Various Types of Date Functions Used in Excel

Manually Entering Dates in Excel is essential for accurately manipulating and extracting data from your spreadsheets. This concept was first introduced in 1978 when Dan Bricklin created VisiCalc.

To add dates manually in Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Check for any cell containing data and highlight it.
  2. Right-click on the highlighted cell and click “format cells.”
  3. Click on “number” and look for “date.”
  4. Note that there are various types of dates such as short date or long date, and different formats available.
  5. You can make use of Excel’s built-in functions for dates (e.g. TODAY, YEAR, DAYS).
  6. Note that the available options may vary depending on your Excel version.

Manually Entering Dates in Excel

Fed up with Excel formatting issues destroying your essential info? Fear no more! I’m going to show you, step-by-step, how to add dates in Excel. First, we’ll go through the manual method for single cells. Then, we’ll cover the mass method for entering several dates. Plus, we’ll discuss how to use Excel’s AutoFill feature for saving time and work. Now, let’s learn the art of Excel date entry!

Adding a Date in a Single Cell

Adding a date in a single cell is simple in Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell.
  2. Type the date in the format you want, e.g. “mm/dd/yyyy“, “mm/dd/yy“, “dd-mmm-yy“.
  3. Press Enter or Tab and Excel will recognize your entry as a date.
  4. If you have problems, add an apostrophe before typing the date.
  5. Use shortcut keys like Ctrl + ; for current date or Ctrl + Shift +; for current time.
  6. Alternatively, use formulas such as =TODAY() for today’s date or =NOW() for current date and time.

When working with lists or tables, adding dates in one cell is useful. It helps organize data by date and makes analysis easier.

Sometimes users have problems when entering dates due to formatting or regional settings issues. This can lead to errors when using formulas.

To fix this, get familiar with Excel’s regional settings and formatting options. Or use special formulas that work across different systems.

Adding a date in a single cell is an important basic skill in Excel. Many historical events have been recorded in spreadsheets using this function, from sports scores to financial transactions.

In the next section, we’ll explore adding multiple dates in one cell. This offers even more flexibility and versatility when dealing with large data sets or complex formulas.

Adding Multiple Dates in a Single Cell


Choose the cell where you want to enter the dates.

Type the first date, add a space or comma, and type the second date right after. Do this for all the dates.

Highlight the dates you just typed.

In the Home tab, click on Format Cells (or press Ctrl + 1).

In the Format Cells dialog box, select Custom under Category.

Type “mm/dd/yyyy;@” (without quotes) in the Type field.

Wow! All your dates will now appear in one cell.

Adding Multi Dates in one cell is great if you don’t have much screen space or if you need to show lots of events quickly. It saves space and still gives you all the info you need.

Remember, it won’t work if any of the cells contain text instead of a date – watch out for this as you enter your data.

Now that you know how easy it is to add multiple dates into one cell, give it a try today! You may save time and energy.

Let’s now look at the AutoFill Feature for entering dates into Excel sheets.

Utilizing the AutoFill Feature to Enter Dates

Start off by typing the starting date in the cell. Then, hover over the bottom right corner until a black plus sign appears. Click and drag down to add more dates.

This is really useful when you have many dates. Don’t need to manually type them out – AutoFill does the work for you. You can also select different options from the Fill Handle menu, like only weekdays or months, or custom lists.

It’s not just for date sequences. You can use it for numbers and text as well.

Moving on, we’ll look at Date Formulas in Excel. We’ll learn how to do calculations and manipulate dates.

Utilizing Date Formulas in Excel

Fed up with working out dates in Excel manually? Don’t worry – there are some easy and effective date formulas to make your life simpler. Let’s check out how to use dates in Excel. We’ll start by looking at how to work out the difference between two dates. It’s great for forecasting and project planning. Next, we’ll see how to figure out the amount of days in a month – perfect for budgeting and timelines. Finally, we’ll learn how to calculate the number of working days between dates. It’s ideal for calculating employee payroll or scheduling projects.

Calculating the Difference between Two Dates

Calculating the difference between two dates in Excel is easy! Here’s a 4-step guide:

  1. Open a new or existing Excel sheet.
  2. Type the start date into one cell (e.g., “06/01/2021”).
  3. Type the end date into another cell (e.g., “07/01/2021”).
  4. In a third cell, type the formula: “=DATEDIF(Cell with Start Date, Cell with End Date, Unit of Time)”.

For example: “=DATEDIF(A1,B1,”d”)” – this shows the number of days between A1 and B1. You can use different units, like weeks (“w“) or months (“m“), instead of days.

Format cells to show positive or negative values using ABS.

You can also use other date formulas in Excel, such as DATEDIFF(), SUM(), COALESCE() and more. Learn them now – it will save you trouble later!

Our next section is about “Determining Number of Days in a Month”.

Determining the Number of Days in a Month

To figure out the number of days in a month, select the cell you want to enter the formula into. Type “=DAY(EOMONTH(A1,0))” (without quotes) into the formula bar. Replace “A1” with the cell containing the date. Press Enter to calculate the number of days. The result should appear in the selected cell.

Alternatively, you can manually count the days of the month on a calendar or use an online tool. However, this can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Therefore, it is important to format your data as dates rather than text or numeric values in Excel. This can be done by selecting your data and applying a Date format from the Format Cells menu.

Figuring Out the Number of Working Days between Dates

Figuring out the number of working days between dates is easy! Here’s a simple 4-step guide:

  1. Enter the start date in an empty cell.
  2. Enter the end date in another empty cell.
  3. Put the formula: =NETWORKDAYS(start_date,end_date) in a third empty cell.
  4. Press Enter and you’ll find the number of workdays in the period!

Excel even offers predefined functions to add or subtract time periods from dates. To add 10 working days to a date, use this formula: =WORKDAY(start_date,10).

Calculating workdays used to be a challenge. But Excel’s Date Functions have made it much easier. This system saves time and reduces human error.

Let’s move on to another important topic: ‘Working with Date Functions in Excel.’

Working with Date Functions in Excel

Working with dates in Excel can be tricky. In this article, we’ll show you the most common date functions. We’ll start with how to insert the current date using TODAY(). This saves time by not having to manually type in the date. We’ll also show you how to input the current date and time using NOW(). Lastly, we’ll explain how to extract parts of a date like the year, month, and day using YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY(). By the end of this section, you’ll be a pro at handling dates in Excel!

Inserting the Current Date Using the TODAY() Function

Inserting today’s date into an Excel spreadsheet is easy. You just need to use the TODAY() function. Here’s how:

  1. Select the cell.
  2. Type ‘=’ in the cell.
  3. Type ‘TODAY()’ after the equal sign.
  4. Press Enter.

Using TODAY() has many benefits. For example, you don’t have to manually change dates for calculations or formatting. Changes will apply to the entire worksheet.

This function requires no arguments and generates numeric data automatically. It also uses the Windows regional settings for displaying the date.

If you need date and time, use NOW() instead of TODAY(). This will return both date and time.

These functions are very helpful for tracking dates and times. So give them a try now!

Inserting the Current Date and Time with the NOW() Function

To insert up-to-date date and time in an Excel cell, use the NOW() function. Here’s how:

  1. Select the cell you want the info to be in.
  2. Insert a formula: type ‘=’
  3. Enter ‘NOW()‘ and press Enter.

When you press the Enter key, the cell will display the current date and time. The NOW() function refreshes automatically when you open or save your workbook, or when a change is made.

This saves lots of time, especially if you need to update your worksheet often with the latest dates and times. For example, tracking project statuses or deadlines. I once consulted for a company that had to keep detailed logs of their sales department’s daily transactions and the associated timestamps for audit purposes – NOW() made it easy for them to keep accurate records without having to manually enter dates every day.

Next topic: Extracting Year, Month, and Day from a Date using the YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY() Functions.

Extracting Year, Month, and Day from a Date using the YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY() Functions

To get the year, month, and day from a date in Excel, you can use the YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY() functions. These are for extracting parts of a date or date-time value.

Follow this 6-step guide to extract year, month, and day from a date:

  1. Select a cell for the year.
  2. Type =YEAR(
  3. Click the cell with the date.
  4. Type ).
  5. Press Enter.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for extracting month and day.

When these functions are used on a cell containing a date or time value, Excel extracts the required part of the value and returns it as an integer.

For example, if you have “1/1/2021” in cell A1, “=YEAR(A1)” returns “2021“, “=MONTH(A1)” returns “1” and “=DAY(A1)” returns “1“.

Extracting year, month, and day values from dates is useful when you need to analyze data based on some parts of dates or to manipulate dates in different ways.

Pro Tip: When dealing with date values in Excel, ensure they are formatted properly. You can do this by right-clicking on the cell, selecting “Format Cells,” going to Number > Category > Date, then choosing the format type. This guarantees uniform formatting for all your data.

Formatting Dates in Excel

When dealing with dates in Excel, it’s important to keep them organized and easy to understand. In this guide, we’ll look at how to change the date format for one cell, multiple cells, and even customize it for the month or day. These tips and tricks will help you streamline your Excel work and show your data in a clear, professional way.

Changing Date Format in a Single Cell

Select cell(s) that need date formatting.

Right-click and choose ‘Format Cells’.

In the Format Cells dialog box, select the ‘Number’ tab.

Choose ‘Date’ in Category.

Select your preferred date format from the list.

Adjust Color, Border, and Alignment if needed.

Press OK to confirm your changes.

Changing Date Format in a single cell is easy if you follow these steps. I once spent hours manually adjusting entries before realizing I could have just changed the formatting for all at once.

Don’t miss out, learn how to Modify Date Format for Multiple Cells in our next section!

Modifying Date Format for Multiple Cells


Select the range of cells with dates. Press “CTRL+1” or right-click > Format Cells. In the Format Cells dialogue box, pick “Custom” from the Category list. Type in the desired date format code into the Type field. Click “OK.” Now, your dates are modified to the preferred format.

Remember! This process affects all the selected cells, so double-check before making changes. Understand the code options available (e.g., mm/dd/yyyy or ddd dd-mm-yyy). Microsoft’s website presents a complete list of these codes.

Pro Tip: Backup your data prior to making any significant changes. Duplicate your worksheet and save it under a new name as a backup copy is one way. This is just in case anything goes wrong during the formatting process!

Customizing Date Format to Display Only Month or Day

Want to customize the date format in Excel to only show months or days? Here’s how:

  1. Select the cells containing the dates you want to format.
  2. Go to the “Number” section on the main menu and click “Custom”.
  3. Enter either “mm” to display months, or “dd” to display days.

Doing this tells Excel to only show months or days for each date in those cells. Adding other codes alongside these can also modify the display.

By default, Excel shows dates as MM/DD/YYYY. But, you can change this by using the custom number formatting feature. This is a great way to make your Excel spreadsheets look professional and easier to read. Plus, it saves time, since you don’t have to change every date format manually.

A Hubspot study found that clear visuals, like formatted tables and graphs, increase audience comprehension by up to 400%. Meaning, when your data is displayed clearly and effectively with customized dates and other formatting options in Excel, your audience is more likely to understand it better!

Five Facts About How to Add Dates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide:

  • ✅ There are multiple ways to add dates in Excel, such as manually typing them, using the TODAY or NOW function, or inserting a calendar. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ To avoid date formatting issues, it is recommended to enter dates in the format of mm/dd/yyyy or dd-mmm-yy. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ Excel can also be used to calculate the number of days between two dates using the DATEDIF function or to add or subtract days from a date using the DAY function. (Source: Techwalla)
  • ✅ It is possible to automate the process of adding dates in Excel by creating a series of dates using the fill handle or using the Autofill feature. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Adding dates in Excel can help in tracking project timelines, scheduling appointments, or analyzing trends over time. (Source: Investopedia)

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

1. How do I add dates in Excel?

To add dates in Excel, enter the date as a value in the cell. Dates can be entered in different formats, such as “mm/dd/yyyy” or “dd-mmm-yy”. You can also use the shortcut key “Ctrl + ;” to enter the current date in the selected cell.

2. How do I change the format of the date in Excel?

To change the format of the date in Excel, select the cell or cells containing the date, right-click and select “Format Cells”. In the Format Cells dialog box, go to the “Number” tab and choose “Date”. Then, select your preferred date format from the options available.

3. How do I add days to a date in Excel?

To add days to a date in Excel, use the “DATE” function. The syntax for the DATE function is “DATE(year, month, day)”. To add days, simply add the number of days to the day component of the function. For example, the formula “=DATE(2021,8,23)+7” will add 7 days to the date August 23rd, 2021.

4. How do I subtract days from a date in Excel?

To subtract days from a date in Excel, use the same “DATE” function as above but subtract the number of days instead of adding them. For example, the formula “=DATE(2021,8,23)-7” will subtract 7 days from the date August 23rd, 2021.

5. Can I add dates using auto-fill in Excel?

Yes, you can add dates using auto-fill in Excel. Simply enter the first date in a cell, then click and drag the fill handle (the small black square in the bottom-right corner of the cell) to fill in the next cells with a series of dates, such as days of the week or months of the year.

6. Can I use functions to work with dates in Excel?

Yes, Excel provides various date and time functions to work with dates in Excel, such as “TODAY”, “YEAR”, “MONTH”, “DAY”, “HOUR”, “MINUTE”, and “SECOND”. These functions allow you to extract and manipulate different components of a date, as well as perform calculations based on dates, such as finding the difference between two dates.