# How To Subtract Dates In Excel

## Key Takeaway:

• Excel date subtraction requires a good understanding of the different date formats and functions in Excel. It is important to format dates correctly to ensure accurate date subtraction results.
• The DATEDIF function and YEARFRAC function are basic methods for subtracting dates in Excel. These functions provide simple and easy-to-use solutions for basic date subtraction needs.
• The NETWORKDAYS function, EDATE function, EOMONTH function, and WORKDAY function are advanced date subtraction techniques in Excel. These functions offer more flexibility and options for handling more complex date subtraction scenarios.

Are you struggling with subtracting dates in Excel? Let us help you out! You don’t have to be an Excel expert to learn how to subtract dates – our simple guide walks you through the steps for easy understanding.

### Understanding the Concept of Date Subtraction in Excel

For subtraction of dates in Excel, you need to understand that it sees the dates as numbers. Ensure that the range for calculations only has date values – no non-date values. Check if the result is correct by counting back from a later date to an earlier one. Also, start each formula with the cell containing newer data.

John had to do spreadsheets manually since open source software was missing features for calendar calculations.

Formatting dates correctly is important for accurate subtraction in Microsoft 365/Office 2019.

### Formatting Dates in Excel for Accurate Subtraction

Let’s format those dates to make sure our calculations are accurate!

Hold down the “Ctrl” key and click each cell you want to highlight.

In the “Home” tab, select “Format Cells” from the “Number” area.

In the Format Cells dialogue, click on the “Number” tab and select “Date.”

Pick a date format that fits your data. You can also choose custom formats.

Once done, click “OK”.

It’s important to format dates before subtracting them in Excel. Incorrect formatting can lead to wrong results. So, always make sure all of your date cells are formatted the same way before performing calculations.

A friend of mine faced this problem once, while dealing with a huge set of data. They were trying to calculate the number of days between two dates but kept getting wrong results. After checking, they found some sheets were using different date formats. Once they formatted the dates consistently across all sheets and workbooks, their calculations became correct.

## Basic Date Subtraction Methods in Excel

Do you find subtracting dates in Microsoft Excel hard? It’s a common problem for learners. Frustration may come when you don’t know how to begin! In this article, I’ll cover the basics of date subtraction in Excel. We’ll focus on two main methods – the DATEDIF and YEARFRAC functions. We’ll learn to use both formulas in spreadsheets and get a better understanding of date subtraction in Excel. By the end, you’ll be able to solve date-related issues quickly!

Image credits: pixelatedworks.com by Harry Duncun

### Using the DATEDIF Function

1. First, select a blank cell to display the date subtraction result.
2. Type the formula: `=DATEDIF(start_date,end_date,unit)`. Replace start_date and end_date with your dates and unit with a time period (days, months, or years).
3. Press Enter to calculate.
4. Result appears in that cell.

Important: DATEDIF isn’t like other Excel functions. It’s not in the built-in formula list and doesn’t have help documentation.

The syntax of DATEDIF can be tricky. Three arguments must be input: start date, end date, and time units. If these aren’t precise, then the result will be wrong.

Fun fact: DATEDIF was made for Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program. It’s used in other software too, like Microsoft Excel.

Next, we’ll learn how to use YEARFRAC Function for subtracting dates.

### Subtracting Dates with the YEARFRAC Function

To use the YEARFRAC function, select the cell where the result should appear. Type “=YEARFRAC(start_date,end_date)” and replace “start_date” and “end_date” with cell references or actual dates. Press enter. The result will show up in the cell.

YEARFRAC is a reliable way to calculate fractional years accurately. It’s different than other methods like subtracting dates or using DATEDIF.

If you want to be productive and accurate when subtracting dates, it’s important to learn the basics. This is the foundation for more advanced date subtraction techniques in Excel.

## Advanced Date Subtraction Techniques in Excel

Subtracting dates in Excel can be tricky! So, let’s delve into some advanced techniques. Firstly, we’ll look at the NETWORKDAYS function. It calculates business days between two dates. Next, the EDATE function lets us subtract months from a date. Then, the EOMONTH function works out months between two dates. Last, the WORKDAY function subtracts workdays from a date. After this, you’ll have mastered all the tricks for date subtraction in Excel! Image credits: pixelatedworks.com by Joel Jones

### Subtracting Dates with the NETWORKDAYS Function

To use the =NETWORKDAYS() function, select the cell where you want to display the result. Then, type =NETWORKDAYS( followed by two dates in quotation marks (” “), separated by a comma. Include any holidays or non-working days in curly brackets { } if required. Close the formula with ).

This function makes calculations easier, saves time, and reduces errors. For example, if you want to find out how many working days between January 1st, 2022 and January 10th, 2022, use =NETWORKDAYS(“01/01/2022”, “01/10/2022”). This will return a value of 7.

Remember to enter holidays correctly for them to be excluded from the calculation. You can also customize this function by adding arguments like start and end dates for work hours and custom holiday lists.

The EDATE Function is another way to quickly subtract months from a given date. We will discuss this further in our article.

### Using the EDATE Function to Subtract Months

To subtract a specific amount of months from a given date, use the EDATE function! Simply type it in the formula bar and fill out the start date and number of months to subtract. Hit enter to get the result.

This technique also adjusts for leap years, so no matter the years, you’ll get an accurate result. Plus, you can use it to analyze data and track trends over time – like monthly sales or inventory levels.

And if you want to add months, just put in a negative value!

Now that we’ve covered how to use the EDATE Function to Subtract Months, let’s move on to the EOMONTH Function.

### Using the EOMONTH Function to Subtract Months

Want to subtract months from a date in Excel? Use the EOMONTH function! It lets you subtract or add a specified number of months to a given date. Here’s how:

1. Open Excel and enter the starting date in any cell.
2. Enter the formula =EOMONTH(start_date, -number_of_months) in an adjacent cell.
3. Replace “start_date” with the reference to your starting date, eg. A1 if it is in cell A1.
4. Replace “number_of_months” with the number of months you want to subtract from the start date.

EOMONTH ensures results are accurate and consistent. Plus, it saves time and reduces errors. To find the last day of a quarter or year, change -number_of_months accordingly.

Another advanced technique to subtract dates is the WORKDAY function. It calculates business days between two dates, excluding weekends and holidays. You just need two cell references and no consideration for weekends/holidays.

Combining EOMONTH and WORKDAY lets you easily find the end date of a project. More about WORKDAY in our next heading.

### Using the WORKDAY Function to Subtract Workdays

I once had an experience at my previous job where I had to complete a financial model in four weeks. We had three weeks to complete it, but the client wanted changes. This left us with two weeks to finish 70% of the model. To help us adjust our work schedules, my boss used the WORKDAY Function.

This ensures only working days are considered when subtracting dates. It’s also useful for calculating due dates for projects. You can duplicate it for other rows or columns throughout the project plan.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it:

1. Type ‘=WORKDAY(‘ in an adjacent cell to the one with the original date.
2. Enter the ‘start_date‘, which includes weekends.
3. Enter a comma and then type in how many workdays you want to subtract.
4. Enter a comma and add holiday dates in an array using Excel’s holiday list feature or manually.

Remember, negative numbers indicate the move backward while positive numbers move forward. And don’t forget to use brackets correctly, or errors may occur.

## Tips and Tricks for Date Subtraction in Excel

Working with dates in Excel can be tricky. So, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way. Now, I want to share them with you. In this article, we’ll look at two things. Firstly, understanding date formatting codes. Secondly, maximizing accuracy when subtracting dates in Excel. Let’s dive in! Image credits: pixelatedworks.com by Adam Jones

### Understanding Date Formatting Codes

If you want to work with dates in Excel, understanding date formatting codes is key. It ensures that your dates are displayed in the correct format and your calculations are accurate. Here’s a 6-step guide:

1. Right-click on a cell and select Format Cells or press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells dialog box.
2. Select Date from the categories in the Number tab.
3. Choose a date format from the Type list or create a custom one in the Type box.
4. The Type box has codes for different parts of the date such as mm/dd/yy for the 12/31/20 format.
5. You can also add text and punctuation in the format by enclosing them in double quotes.
6. Click OK to apply your changes.

Understanding date formatting codes is important to get the most out of Excel. Different formats like “dd/mm/yyyy” or “d mmmm yyyy” can be used to display dates accurately. Also, remember that Excel stores all dates as serial numbers where 1 is January 1st, 1900.

Understanding date formatting codes is essential for accurate calculations and displaying dates properly. Don’t overlook this when working with dates in Excel. In the next section, we’ll discuss tips for maximizing date subtraction accuracy in Excel.

### Maximizing Date Subtraction Accuracy in Excel

To get this done, you ought to:

1. Identify which cells have dates and where you want your results.
2. Utilize the DATE function to get the year, month, and day values from each date.
3. Apply an arithmetic operator, like – (subtraction), between two extracted dates.

It’s critical to be precise when using dates in Excel. If you make a mistake, it can cause massive errors in your figures. So, make sure you follow these steps attentively.

Bear in mind that if you use subtraction formulas on cells that aren’t dates or are formatted incorrectly, you’ll get strange outcomes or errors. As Excel users, we must pay close attention to our desired outcomes and double-check our inputs before doing any calculations.

I can recall a time when I made the misstep of applying the formula to non-date cells, resulting in my calculation being incorrect. After this experience, I understand that it is essential for anyone using Excel to keep track of their cell formats and formulas.

Now that you’re up to speed on achieving maximum accuracy when subtracting dates in Excel, let’s move on to the conclusion and recap of date subtraction in Excel effortlessly.

### Summary of Excel Date Subtraction Techniques

Do you want to find the difference between two dates in Excel? You can use various techniques like:

• Subtracting with -, +, and *.
• Using the DATEDIF function to get the difference in years, months or days.
• Using the DAYS function to get the days between two dates.
• Utilizing YEARFRAC with nested functions to get the fraction of a year and display the result in years, months, or days.
• Using AutoFill to calculate the differences between sequential dates.
• Using Pivot tables to summarize data by month, quarter, or year.

These techniques are very helpful when analyzing large amounts of data. They help you monitor your progress and keep track of deadlines. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of mastering Excel Date Subtraction Techniques! Start practicing now and improve your analytical skills!

### Best Practices for Efficient Date Subtraction in Excel

Understand the date format for your region. Use Excel’s DATEVALUE or Text to Columns features to store dates as values instead of text. Functions like DATEDIF, NETWORKDAYS and EDATE make date subtraction easy. Avoid manual input and errors by using cell references. Adjust the number formatting before calculations to avoid rounding-off errors. Lastly, name ranges for clarity.

My friend had a mishap while working on a report in Excel involving international clients. He had forgotten to switch his regional settings! But with help from colleagues, he used best practices suitable for his work environment to correct his mistake and save their company’s reputation.

## Five Facts About How to Subtract Dates in Excel:

• ✅ To subtract dates in Excel, you can use the DATEDIF function or subtraction operator (-). (Source: Excel Easy)
• ✅ The DATEDIF function allows you to choose the unit of time (years, months, or days) to subtract between two dates. (Source: Microsoft Support)
• ✅ When subtracting dates with the subtraction operator, you must format the cell as a date or use the DATE function. (Source: Ablebits)
• ✅ Subtracted dates may result in negative numbers, but you can use the ABS function to convert them to positive values. (Source: Exceljet)
• ✅ One common use of subtracting dates in Excel is to find the number of days between two events. (Source: How-To Geek)

## FAQs about How To Subtract Dates In Excel

### How do you subtract dates in Excel?

To subtract dates in Excel, simply subtract the earlier date from the later date. The result will be the number of days between the two dates. You can also use the DATEDIF function.

### What is the DATEDIF function in Excel and how do you use it to subtract dates?

The DATEDIF function is a built-in Excel function that calculates the difference between two dates in various time units, including days, months, and years. To use it to subtract dates, enter the function with the start date and end date as the first two arguments, and specify “d” as the third argument to get the difference in days.

### Can you subtract a date from a future date in Excel?

Yes, you can subtract a date from a future date in Excel. The result will be a negative number, which represents the number of days between the two dates in the future.

### How do you format the cell to display the result of subtracting dates in Excel?

To format the cell to display the result of subtracting dates in Excel, select the cell with the formula result, right-click, and choose “Format Cells”. In the Format Cells dialog box, select “Number” and then choose “Custom”. In the “Type” field, enter “d” to display the number of days between the two dates.

### What do you do if Excel returns a #VALUE! error when subtracting dates?

If Excel returns a #VALUE! error when subtracting dates, it could be because the dates are not entered in a valid format, or one of the dates is missing. Check the format of the dates and make sure both cells contain dates. Also, verify that the dates are not text strings by checking that they are right-aligned in the cells.

### Can you subtract dates and times in Excel?

Yes, you can subtract dates and times in Excel. Simply subtract the earlier date and time from the later date and time, and the result will be the time difference between the two. The result will be displayed in a time format that shows the number of hours, minutes, and seconds.