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Video:How to Subtract Dates in Excel

with Nick Richards

Subtracting dates in Excel is easy and can be quite helpful if you know how to do it correctly. Watch this About.com video to see instructions for accomplishing this in Excel.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Subtract Dates in Excel

Hi, I'm Nick and today for About.com, I'm going to show you how to subtract dates in Excel.

What Does Subtracting Dates in Excel Accomplish?

Excel has the ability to count between specific dates in a spreadsheet, whether it's across years, months or minutes!

Instructions for Subtracting Dates in Excel

To count the number of days between two dates in a spreadsheet, first select an empty cell in which to enter the total and then open the 'Formulas' ribbon. From here, click the 'Date & Time' option. Choose the Day open and a new window will open. In the Serial_number box, enter the start date either manually or by clicking on it with the mouse. Click OK to confirm the first part of the formula. Before you add the second part of the formula, click in the formula bar and enter a minus sign directly after the first cell reference. Reopen the Date & Time function, select day and enter the end date into the Serial_number box. Click OK and the Excel will immediately display the number of days between the two dates.

Entering the Formula Manually to Subtract Dates

You can also enter the formula manually, if you prefer. For example, if you wish to subtract dates in the columns B2 and B3, enter the formula =year(b2)-year(b3) and then hit enter to get the result.

DATEDIF Function in Excel

The DATEDIF function can be used on dates that require a bit more flexibility. For example, if you want to search the number of days between two dates that are spread across several months, you can use the DATEDIF formula. To use the formula, select the cell you wish to use and then enter =datedif followed by the start date and the end date. At the end of the formula, you will need to enter the method in which you wish to count, for example, putting D in quotations will subtract days, M will subtract months and Y will subtract years.

It's worth remember to double check that your dates are in chronological order – you will receive a number error if the start date is later than the end date.

Now you know how to subtract dates in Excel. For more tips and tricks, visit Compute.About.com.

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