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Enter Dates Using the DATE ( ) Function

Avoid Calculation Problems by Using the DATE ( ) Function

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Excel's DATE Function

Excel's DATE Function

© Ted French

Enter Dates Using the DATE ( ) Function

Dates are a very important part of spreadsheet programs like Excel.

Not only is a good practice to show the date on worksheets, but there are also a number of functions that can be used to calculate such things as project start or end dates, the number of working days between two dates, and the maturity date of investments.

When working with these functions, it is good practice to enter any dates - such as a project start date - using the DATE ( ) function.

Although dates can just be entered by typing - such as 7/9/2008 - and Excel will usually recognize it as a date.

There exists the possibility that the date could be read as a text entry and, therefore, cause problems with calculations.

The syntax for the DATE function is:

= DATE( Year, Month, Day)

Year - enter the year as a four digit number or the cell reference where it is located.

Month - enter the year as a two digit number or the cell reference where it is located.

Day - enter the day as a two digit number or the cell reference where it is located.

Examples of Dates Entered into the DATE ( ) Function

A date can be entered directly into the function just remember that the order must be yyyy, mm, dd such as:

    =DATE (2008, 02, 24) 

The cell references to the location of the date data in the worksheet can also be entered as can be seen in the image above:

    =DATE (D1, D2, D3) 

Where:

  • the year (2008) is entered into cell D1
  • the month (02) is entered into cell D2
  • the day (24) is entered into cell D3

The result will in cell E1 will be:

    2 / 24 / 2008 

Tutorials that Use the DATE ( ) Function in Calculations

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