How to use the DATE function in Excel

The Excel DATE function is a DATE & TIME function. This function returns the DATE value in numerical format. Convert the output to date format via using Format cell option.

In this article, we will learn how to use the DATE function in Excel.

Syntax of DATE Function:


year : valid numerical value for year

month : numerical value for month, can have zero and negative values

day : numerical value for day, can have zero and negative values

Example of DATE Function

All of these might be confusing to understand. So, let's test this formula via running it on the example shown below. So, here I have a table of some data. The first column contains the numeric values for the day value, second column contains month value and third contains the year value for the real date value as result.

Use the formula:


It will return 43994. Here all the arguments to the DATE function are given using cell reference. As you can see the value is not in date format. So for that just change the format of the result cell to short or long date format as required.

As shown in the above gif that you can change the format of any cell to any format using the format cell option. Now You can copy the formula from one to the remaining cells using the Ctrl + D shortcut key or using the drag down option in excel.

As you can see from the above snapshot that DATE function takes day, month and year value as input and returns the whole date value. Negative or zero value as argument returns the date shifting respectively as per value.

Excel DATE function : DATE function with other formulas to return result in date format. DATE function is mostly used with other logic functions for calculating date values in Excel. From one date value extract month, day and year for more calculation like the one shown below to get the next anniversary date.

Use the formula:

=DATE (YEAR (D5) + 1, MONTH(D5) , DAY(D5))

Here the day function extract day , Month function extracts month and year function extracts year value from the date and perform operation over numerical values and return the arguments to the DATE function to return required date value.

Here are some observational notes are shown below.


  1. The formula only works with numbers.
  2. Arguments to the function must be numeric values or else the function returns #NAME? Error.
  3. No argument to the function returns #NUM! Error.
  4. Only No year argument returns the year value as 1900.
  5. MONTH and DAY arguments can be zero or negative. As day argument 1 returns 1st date of month, 0 input will return the just before date value from the previous month.

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