Datedif: Excel Formulae Explained

by Jacky Chou
Updated on

Key Takeaways:

  • The DATEDIF Excel formula is a powerful tool for calculating the difference between dates. This function allows users to easily determine the age of a person or track the length of time between two events.
  • Understanding the syntax and arguments of the DATEDIF function is essential for accurate calculations. Users should take note of the differences in the “unit” argument and the importance of including the start date in the calculation.
  • The DATEDIF function can be used to calculate age and months between two dates. This is particularly useful for businesses tracking employee tenure, or for individuals tracking personal milestones.
  • While the DATEDIF formula is a helpful tool, it does come with limitations. Users should be aware of formatting inconsistencies and potential errors that can arise from incorrect inputs or invalid date ranges.
  • In conclusion, the DATEDIF formula is an important tool in data analysis, allowing users to easily calculate the difference between dates and track important events. Proper understanding and implementation can lead to accurate analyses and valuable insights.

Do you want to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel? Discover the hidden DATEDIF formula and learn how to accurately measure periods of time with ease! Use this guide to streamline your workflow and simplify complex calculations.

Understanding DATEDIF Function

Let’s get to know the DATEDIF Function better! For a successful application in Excel, we must understand the Syntax and Arguments of the DATEDIF Function. This section will delve deeper into this solution for your problem.

Syntax of DATEDIF Function

The DATEDIF function is a powerful Excel formula that calculates the difference between two dates. Its syntax includes three arguments: start_date, end_date, and unit. The start_date and end_date arguments are required while the unit argument is optional. The unit argument specifies the type of information to return, such as days, months or years.

To use the DATEDIF function, begin with =DATEDIF(start_date,end_date,"unit"). The start_date and end_date should be inputted in date format. For example, 05/28/2021 could be written as 5/28/21 or May 28th, 2021. Next, add quotes around your desired “unit” to specify what you’d like to calculate.

It’s important to note that there is no formal record of this formula in Excel’s documentation because Microsoft acknowledges it more as a bug than an actual formula. However, it continues to work across all versions of Excel and thus remains a popular tool for calculating date differences.

Pro Tip: Utilize the DATEDIF function with other formulas such as SUM and AVERAGE to retrieve sums or averages between specified date intervals.

Sorry to break it to you, but the arguments of the DATEDIF function don’t involve a heated debate between two dates.

Arguments of DATEDIF Function

The DATEDIF function in Excel takes three arguments— start date, end date and unit of time— to determine the time duration between two dates. The units of time include years (Y), months (M) and days (D).

To use DATEDIF, select a cell for your output, enter =DATEDIF(Start_date, End_date,"unit_of_time"), then hit enter. DATEDIF will provide a numerical value representing the calculated duration between the two dates.

By using “Y” as unit_of_time argument with start_date and end_date in previous paragraph’s example would return the number of full years between them.

Pro Tip: Consider using DATESINCE instead as it provides similar functionality with increased precision.

Finally, a way to make your ex’s anniversary feel even more insignificant – DATEDIF formula to the rescue!

Calculating the Difference between Dates using DATEDIF Formula

DATEDIF formula is a great way to work out the difference between dates. It has different abilities. We’ll look into two sections here – using DATEDIF to calculate age and also to calculate the months between two dates.

Calculating Age using DATEDIF Function

To determine the age using DATEDIF function, excel provides a straightforward formula:

  1. Open a new/existing workbook in Excel.
  2. Select the cell where you want your age calculation to appear.
  3. Type “=DATEDIF(Birthdate, Today’s Date, “Y”)” and press Enter.
  4. For Birthdate, replace it with the cell containing the birth date of the person you intend to calculate the age for.
  5. Replace Today’s Date with “Today()”, which tells Excel to use today’s date automatically.
  6. The output will show as an integer value indicating how many years have passed since the person was born.

It is crucial to note that this method calculates only based on full years; thus, if you want to calculate including months or days, change “Y” in step 3 for either M or D.

It is necessary to keep in mind that using DATEDIF might result in incorrect calculations unless used correctly.

Interestingly, this formula can also be utilized for other calculations such as finding out how many months are between two dates or determining someone’s employment tenure (if two different dates are provided).

History records mention that DATEDIF function was introduced around 1995 but began being available from Excel version 2000 onwards. This formula has been one of the most sought-after formulas among finance personnel and data analysts worldwide because of its ability to provide quick results while helping them save time and effort.

Time flies when you’re having Excel-lent fun calculating the months between two dates with DATEDIF formula.

Calculating Months between Two Dates using DATEDIF Formula

To calculate the duration in months between two dates, DATEDIF formula can be used. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the formula:

  1. Start by typing “=DATEDIF(” into an empty cell in your worksheet.
  2. Type the starting date directly after “=DATEDIF(“.
  3. Add a comma after the starting date.
  4. Type in the ending date after the comma.
  5. Finally, type “, “m”)” to signify that you want to get months as your result.

Using these steps, you’ll be able to easily calculate the number of months between any two dates!

It’s important to note that while DATEDIF is a powerful tool for calculating time differences, it does have some limitations. For example, it cannot compute fractions of years or days elapsed between two dates.

A true fact: Microsoft Excel was first released on September 30, 1985.

DATEDIF may not be able to solve your relationship issues, but it can calculate the difference between two dates with ease.

Limitations of DATEDIF Function

Limitations of the DATEDIF Function in Excel Formulae Explained

The DATEDIF function in Excel is not without its limitations. Here are five points to keep in mind:

  • The function has not been documented officially by Microsoft, and its use may not be supported in the future updates of Excel.
  • It does not provide results for time intervals greater than one year or less than one day.
  • It is not suited for calculations that involve leap years.
  • The function interprets dates based on your computer’s settings, which may not be the same as those of someone else using the worksheet.
  • It is not available in certain versions of Excel, such as Excel for Mac 2008 and earlier.

It is important to note that there are additional limitations of the DATEDIF function that you should keep in mind. For instance, it cannot be used with negative dates or dates that are formatted as text. Additionally, when using the function to calculate age, it may not provide an accurate result depending on the specific circumstances.

To overcome these limitations, you may want to consider alternative functions such as the YEARFRAC or the INT function, which can aid in more precise calculations. These functions provide flexibility in terms of specifying the time interval, and they are suited for working with leap years as well.

Some Facts About DATEDIF: Excel Formulae Explained:

  • ✅ DATEDIF is a hidden function in Excel that calculates the difference between two dates in days, months, or years. (Source: Exceljet)
  • ✅ The correct syntax for using DATEDIF is “=DATEDIF(start_date,end_date,unit)”. (Source: Lifewire)
  • ✅ The “unit” argument in DATEDIF can be “d” for days, “m” for months, or “y” for years. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ DATEDIF can be useful for calculating durations, age, or project timelines in Excel. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ DATEDIF may not be available in future versions of Excel, so it is recommended to use alternative functions like DATEDIFYS or YEARFRAC. (Source: Contextures)

FAQs about Datedif: Excel Formulae Explained

What is DATEDIF: Excel Formulae Explained?

DATEDIF is a function in Excel that calculates the difference between two dates, in years, months, or days. It is a popular formula for financial planning, budgeting, and project management.

How do I use the DATEDIF formula in Excel?

To use the DATEDIF formula in Excel, you need to enter three arguments: start date, end date, and interval. The interval can be “y” for years, “m” for months, or “d” for days. For example, DATEDIF(A1,B1,”m”) calculates the number of months between the dates in cell A1 and B1.

Can I use DATEDIF to calculate the age of a person?

Yes, DATEDIF can be used to calculate the age of a person. To do this, you would use the “y” interval and subtract the birth date from today’s date. For example, =DATEDIF(A1,TODAY(),”y”) would calculate the age of a person born on the date in cell A1.

Can DATEDIF handle leap years?

Yes, DATEDIF can handle leap years. If the start year and end year are not the same, Excel counts the extra days during leap years.

What happens if I leave out the interval argument in the DATEDIF formula?

If you leave out the interval argument in the DATEDIF formula, Excel will return an error message. The interval argument is required for the formula to work.

What is the maximum number of intervals that the DATEDIF formula can return?

The maximum number of intervals that the DATEDIF formula can return is 32767. If the difference between the two dates is greater than this, Excel will return an error message.

Auther name

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of IndexsyFar & AwayLaurel & Wolf, a couple of FBA businesses, and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.comForbesOberlo, and GoDaddy.