## About this lesson

Understand how dates work in Excel using the TODAY, YEAR, MONTH, DAY and DATE functions.

## Exercise files

Download this lessonâ€™s related exercise files.

Understanding Dates.xlsx11.4 KB Understanding Dates - Completed.xlsx

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## Quick reference

### Topic

Understanding dates.

### Description

Understanding how dates work in Excel using the TODAY, YEAR, MONTH, DAY and DATE functions.

### Where/when to use the technique

In order to reduce error potential, we need to try and enter data as few times as possible. Using Excel’s Date functions, we can manipulate a date in a single cell into every format of the date that we could possibly need.

### Instructions

#### Key Understandings

- Dates are just a number mask put on a numerical value
- Each date’s “serial number” (underlying value) is the number of days since Jan 1, 1900
- Because dates are values we can add and subtract days from them

#### Formula examples

=TODAY() |
Will return the current date, updating each time Excel recalculates. |

=YEAR(A1) |
Will extract the 4 digit year from the value in cell A1. |

=MONTH(A1) |
Will extract the 1-2 digit month from the value in cell A1. |

=DAY(A1) |
Will extract the 1-2 digit day from the value in cell A1. |

=DATE(2013,12,25) |
Will convert the value into the numerical value representing 2013-12-25. |

=TODAY()+1 |
Will return tomorrow’s date, updating each time Excel recalculates. |

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