Excel Subtract Date (Table of Contents )
Overview of Excel Subtract Date
Working with dates in Excel is a common thing for someone being a data analyst, isn’t it? You might have worked on a lot of those. However, while working with a large set of dates, the possible chances are that you may encounter a situation where you want to find out the difference between two dates. Maybe, you are interested in getting the number of days between two date values. I might be interested in finding out the number of months that are falling between those two dates or likewise being interested in years as well. It is an easy task at first when you look at it.
Examples to Subtract Date in Excel
In this article, we will see how to subtract two dates based on certain criteria to get the desired result. Follow the article as well as steps for each example below:
Example #1 – Two Dates in Number of Days
Consider data as shown below, where we have two columns named First Date and Second Date:
Step 1: In cell C2, use a usual subtraction method to subtract the First Date from the Second Date. Use the formula as =B2-A2.
Press the Enter key and you’ll get the difference between the two dates as shown below:
Step 2: Select entire column C and click on Home tab under the Number group section select either General or Number formatting through the dropdown list to convert it into numbers.
You now can see the difference between two dates as a number of days as shown below:
Step 3: Drag the formula until the last working row and you can see the difference between all dates into number of days as shown below. You can hit keyboard strokes Ctrl + D after selecting all the working cells.
Example #2 – Two Dates in Number of Years
Now, we will be looking to figure out how to find a difference between two dates in a number of years.
Since we need to find out the difference between years of Second Date and First Date. To find out the difference in years, we’ll be using the YEAR() function in Excel.
Step 1: In cell D2, use =YEAR(B2) formula. It will extract the year from the date present under cell B2.
Step 2: Now, use subtract operator so that we can make subtraction between two date years.
Step 3: Again use YEAR(A2) as a function which extract the year from date present under cell A2.
Press Enter key and you’ll get the number of years as a difference between Second Date and First Date as shown below.
Step 4: Drag the formula across cells to get the difference in the number of years for dates present across the cells.
If you could see column D, you will figure out that for row 4 and 7, the number of years difference is zero. Since both the dates associated are falling in same year. To get a fraction of year value, we can use the other function called YEARFRAC() to get the number of years including fraction part of years as well.
In cell E2, use =YEARFRAC(A2,B2) as a formula so that we can get the year value with fractional part included in it.
Note that, YEARFRAC function has three parameters, start_date is the First Date, end_date is the Second Date. These two parameters are required arguments and are need to be provided. The third parameter is [basis] which is optional.
Now, drag the formula until cell E11 and you can see all the differences in fractional years. Pay more attention at row 4 and 7 as you will not see zero there.
Example #3 – Two Dates using DATEDIF Function
Now, we are about to see a function that is not listed in any of the Excel formulas. In cell F2, use the formula for DATEDIF and initiate the formula for the same.
Step 1: Use A2 as a first argument (start_date) and B2 as a second argument (end_date) under DATEDIF formula.
Step 2: For third argument (unit), use either of the units available to get the difference in the desired format. I will use M so that I can get the difference in a number of months.
Have a look at the double quotes we have added for unit value. It is mandatory to enclose the value for unit argument in double-quotes to get the formula working.
Step 3: Drag the formula until cell F11 to get the desired result as a difference between number of months for given dates.
This is how we can subtract two dates in Excel to get the difference between either number of days, years or months. Let’s wrap the things up with some points to be remembered:
Things to Remember
- DATEDIF function is not a part of any of the Excel formulas. However, it can be used within Excel.
- Make sure while using YEARFRAC as well as DATEDIF function, end_date should always be greater than the start_date. Otherwise, you’ll be encountered with #NUM! error.
- The unit “M” that extract a number of complete months between two date values. Same is with unit “Y” that returns year between two dates.
This has been a guide to Subtract Date in Excel. Here we discuss How to Subtract Date in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –