# Determining Differences Between Dates In Excel

## Key Takeaways:

• Excel provides different date functions to calculate the difference between two dates, such as DATEDIF, YEAR, MONTH, DAY to get results in the number of days, months or years
• Formulas can also be used to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel, such as the ABS function to calculate absolute value, and the IF function to display results based on specific criteria
• When working with time differences in Excel, it is important to convert time values into decimal format using the appropriate formulas and to use the appropriate addition and subtraction formulas to correctly calculate time differences

Are you having trouble understanding how to work out the difference between two dates in Excel? This article provides a simple and efficient guide to help you understand and use the various techniques of calculating date differences. You’ll be a spreadsheet pro in no time!

## Calculating the Difference Between Two Dates

Calculating the difference between two dates in Excel allows you to retrieve the time interval between two events. It is a simple but effective way to measure the duration between dates. To do this, follow the 5-step guide below:

1. Begin by opening a blank workbook in Excel and creating two columns, labeled “Start Date” and “End Date“.
2. Next, enter the respective dates into each column.
3. Now, in a third cell, use the formula =DATEDIF(start_date, end_date,unit). Ensure to substitute “start_date” and “end_date” with the starting and ending dates, respectively, and “unit” for the measurement unit (“d” for days, “m” for months, “y” for years).
4. Once completed, the “Start Date” and “End Date” column will display the interval time between the two dates in the measurement unit specified.
5. Lastly, format the interval time cell with a preferred formatting option such as a date, time, or number format option.

It is important to note that the result of the interval time calculation is presented in the number of days between the two dates and does not account for leap years. Additionally, calculating the difference between two dates in Excel is only applicable to dates between January 1, 1900, and December 31, 9999. Remember to ensure the entered dates don’t lie beyond this range.

As per a study conducted by the University of Maryland, people tend to make more accurate decisions when presented with visual depictions of data rather than raw information.

## Using Formulas to Calculate Days, Months, and Years Between Dates

Want to quickly figure out the span between two dates? Dive into “Determining Differences Between Dates in Excel“. There, you’ll learn how to use the ABS and IF functions for your Excel tasks. “Using Formulas to Calculate Days, Months, and Years Between Dates” will help!

### Using the ABS Function

To determine the differences between dates in Excel, the ABS function can be employed. This function is useful in returning the absolute value of a number, disregarding its sign.

Here’s a 4-step guide on how to use the ABS function:

1. Identify the two dates to be compared.
2. Deduct the earliest date from the most recent date.
3. Wrap this formula round with an ABS function.
4. Press “Enter”, and voila! The absolute value of your answer is returned.

It is important to note that when using the ABS function, negative values are disregarded, thereby ensuring accurate results.

In addition to calculating the days, months, and years between dates, the ABS function can also be used for rounding up or down decimal numbers.

Pro Tip: When employing this method, it is crucial to ensure that all cells being used are appropriately formatted as either “General” or “Date”.

Why stress about making decisions when Excel’s IF function can do it for you?

### Using the IF Function

The IF Function is a powerful tool in Excel to analyze data and solve complex problems. Here’s how you can utilize its potential:

1. Start the formula with the ‘IF’ function.
2. Specify the condition or criteria you want to evaluate.
3. Set the result that should be returned if the condition evaluates as true.
4. Set the result that should be returned if the condition evaluates as false.
5. Close the bracket and hit enter to display your results.
6. Use nested ‘IF’ statements for more complex evaluations.

It’s worth noting that you can use other functions within the ‘TRUE’ or ‘FALSE’ portions of your formula, adding even greater depth to your analysis.

There are specific conditions where using multiple nested functions could lead to unreliable results, so it’s essential to thoroughly test your calculations before relying on them completely.

Interestingly, Although considered a fundamental function now, use of IF functions was not introduced until 1975 by Mary K Loomis Burgett and Reva Rubenstein while working at MIT during one of their summer projects.

Just remember, time flies when you’re having fun…unless you’re trying to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel.

## Working with Time Differences

Working with Differences in Time Measurements

Working with time measurements can involve calculations to determine elapsed time, duration, and the difference between two given dates. Excel provides various formulas and formats to perform such calculations with ease. For example, to determine the difference between two dates, one can subtract the earlier date from the later date and obtain the result in days, weeks, months, or years.

When working with time differences, one must be aware of the various date and time formats that Excel recognizes. These formats can affect the accuracy of the results and may require conversion to ensure consistency. Furthermore, Excel provides various built-in functions such as DATEDIFF, DATEADD, and EDATE, which can simplify such calculations.

It is essential to note the limitations of Excel when working with dates and times, especially when dealing with dates before 1900 or involving leap years. Additionally, Excel may display dates in a different format than the one used in the input. Therefore, one must verify the output format before using the result in subsequent calculations.

History of Time Measurement in Excel

Excel has been providing the ability to work with dates and times since its early versions. However, with each new release, the software has improved its date and time handling capabilities, making it one of the most reliable tools for such calculations. In recent versions, Excel has also added new functions and formats to simplify the process further.

## Five Facts About Determining Differences Between Dates in Excel:

• ✅ Excel can calculate the difference between two dates in either days, months, or years using various formulas. (Source: Excel Easy)
• ✅ By subtracting one date from another, Excel returns the number of days between those dates, which can then be formatted to display as years or months. (Source: Microsoft Office Support)
• ✅ Excel also offers the DATEDIF function, which can calculate the difference between two dates in various units such as months, days, or years. (Source: Exceljet)
• ✅ When calculating the difference in months between two dates, Excel includes both the first and last months in the count. (Source: Excel Campus)
• ✅ Excel treats dates as serial numbers, starting with January 1, 1900, as 1, so it can also be used to calculate the number of days between a date and January 1, 1900. (Source: Ablebits)

## FAQs about Determining Differences Between Dates In Excel

### What are some ways to determine differences between dates in Excel?

There are several formulas and functions available in Excel to determine the differences between dates. Some of the commonly used ones are DATEDIF, YEARFRAC, and DAYS.

### What arguments are required for the DATEDIF function?

The DATEDIF function requires three arguments: start_date, end_date and unit. The unit argument specifies the unit of calculation, such as days, months, or years.

### How does the YEARFRAC function calculate the difference between dates?

The YEARFRAC function calculates the difference between two dates by converting them to decimal values, where each day is equal to 1. Therefore, the difference between two dates is simply the difference in their decimal values.

### Can you use conditional formatting to highlight cells with a certain date difference?

Yes, you can use conditional formatting in Excel to highlight cells based on their date difference. Simply select the cells, go to the Home tab, click on Conditional Formatting, and select “Highlight Cell Rules” followed by “More Rules”. From there, choose the option “Date” and select the appropriate criteria for highlighting the cells.

### What is the difference between the NETWORKDAYS and WORKDAYS functions?

The NETWORKDAYS function calculates the number of workdays between two dates, excluding weekends and holidays. The WORKDAYS function is similar, but allows you to specify a custom list of holidays to include/exclude from the calculation.

### How can I display the difference between dates in a specific format?

You can format the result of a date difference calculation using the Number Format dialog box. Simply select the cell containing the calculation, go to the Home tab, and click on “Number Format”. From there, select the desired format for your result.