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Calculate the Number of Days, Months or Years Between Two Dates
by Francis Hayes (The Excel Addict)

Have you ever needed to determine the number of days, months or years between two dates? Calculating the number of days between two dats using Excel is pretty simple. Just use a formula to subtract the later date from the earlier date.

For example, if cell B1 contains 1-Jan-2013 and cell B2 contains 03-Mar-2013, you simply enter the formula =B2-B1 in cell B3 to get the number of days. At first the result may look strange. That's because Excel sometimes assumes you are entering another date and automatically formats the result as a date. 

Calculate days between two dates
You can easily correct that by selecting General from the Number format dropdown on theHome tab. Your result then should be 61.

Calculate days between two dates

However, calculating the number of months or years between two dates isn't so obvious. 

There's a Function in Excel that makes this task easy but for some reason Microsoft has hidden it away. You won't even find it in the Paste Functions list (Formulas, Insert Function). The function is called DATEDIF (i.e. date difference).

The syntax for the function is


Let's use the same dates as above in our formula to calculate the number of complete months between the two dates.


Calculate months between two dates
Similarly, the formula to calculate the number of complete years is =DATEDIF(B1,B2,"y"), although using the dates above would result in 0 'complete' years. By changing B1 to a date a year or more earlier we can see the result.

Calculate years between two dates

A couple of things to keep in mind about the DATEDIF function:

1) The start date must be less than or equal to the end date, otherwise it will give an error.

2) Acceptable interval codes are "d", "m", "y", "ym", "yd", "md" (with quotes);

3) It may appear obvious what the "ym", "yd", and "md" interval codes mean but they require a second look. The "ym" interval code returns the number of months between the two dates as if they were in the same year and ignores the year. The "yd", and "md" interval codes returns the number of days between the two dates as if they were in the same year and ignores the year. 

To calculate the number of years, months and days between two dates (more than a year apart) you can use this formula (assuming your start date is in cell B1 and your end date is in cell B2).

Calculate number of years months and days between two dates

=DATEDIF(B1,B2,"y") & " years, " & DATEDIF(B1,B2,"ym") & " months," & DATEDIF(B1,B2,"md") & " days"

To use this formula, Copy and Paste it into your Excel formula bar, then adjust the cell references.

DATEDIF Function Options


"Give me 10 or 15 minutes each week and I will show you how learning a few of my time-saving Microsoft Excel tips on a regular basis will seem almost effortless BUT will quickly help you DOUBLE, TRIPLE, or even QUADRUPLE your productivity in Excel" - Francis Hayes, The Excel Addict

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