How to Subtract Dates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you struggling with subtracting dates in Excel? Don't worry, you're not alone. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be, so I've put together this step-by-step guide to help you out. By the end of this article, you'll be a pro at subtracting dates in Excel. First things first, let's make sure we're all on the same page. When we talk about subtracting dates in Excel, we're talking about finding the difference between two dates. This can be useful for all sorts of things, from calculating how many days a project will take to figuring out how long it's been since your last vacation. Now, let's get started. Here are the steps to subtract dates in Excel:

Step 1: Enter the Dates

The first step is to enter the dates you want to subtract. You can do this in any cell on your spreadsheet. For this example, let's say we want to find the difference between January 1, 2022, and June 1, 2022. We'll enter these dates in cells A1 and B1, respectively.

Step 2: Format the Cells

Next, we need to format the cells to display the result as a number of days. To do this, highlight the cells where you want to display the result, right-click, and select "Format Cells." In the "Number" tab, choose "Number" as the category and set the decimal places to 0.

Step 3: Use the DATEDIF Function

This is where the magic happens. We'll use the DATEDIF function to calculate the difference between the two dates. The syntax for the DATEDIF function is as follows: =DATEDIF(start_date, end_date, unit) In our example, we want to subtract the start date (January 1, 2022) from the end date (June 1, 2022) and display the result in days. So, we'll use the following formula: =DATEDIF(A1, B1, "d") The "d" unit tells the function to return the difference in days.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Result

That's it! You should now have the number of days between the two dates displayed in the cells you formatted in Step 2. In our example, the result is 152.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Now that you know how to subtract dates in Excel, here are some additional tips and tricks to make your life even easier: - You can also use the DATEDIF function to calculate the difference between two times or two dates and times. - If you want to exclude weekends from your calculation, you can use the NETWORKDAYS function instead. - Make sure your dates are formatted correctly before you start. Excel can be picky about date formats, so double-check to make sure everything is in order. - If you're using Excel for Mac, the DATEDIF function may not work. In that case, you can use a combination of the YEAR, MONTH, and DAY functions to calculate the difference. With these tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to mastering date subtraction in Excel.


Subtracting dates in Excel doesn't have to be a headache. With the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can easily calculate the difference between any two dates. Just remember to enter your dates, format your cells, use the DATEDIF function, and enjoy your result! And if you run into any problems along the way, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Happy calculating!
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