How To Subtract Dates In Excel

To subtract dates in Excel, use the formula “=end_date – start_date” where ‘end_date’ and ‘start_date’ are the cell references of the dates you want to subtract. The result will be the difference between the two dates.

In the world of spreadsheet applications, Excel stands tall as one of the most powerful and versatile tools available. With its vast array of functions and formulas, Excel allows users to perform a wide range of calculations with ease. One common task that often arises is subtracting dates to determine the duration between two specific points in time. Whether you’re tracking project deadlines, analyzing sales data, or simply trying to keep track of important dates, knowing how to subtract dates in Excel can prove to be an invaluable skill. In this blog post, we’ll explore various methods and formulas that can be used to subtract dates in Excel, helping you to efficiently calculate time intervals and make more informed decisions based on the data at hand. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to mastering the art of subtracting dates in Excel!

How To Subtract Dates In Excel: Step-by-Step


Step 1: Input Dates

Once you have selected the cells where you want to input dates in Excel, make sure the data is recognized correctly. Enter the dates in a month/day/year format, considering any variations based on your Excel settings.

Next Step

Step 2: Arrange Dates

When subtracting different dates, it is important to arrange them in separate columns. For instance, place Start Dates in column A and End Dates in column B, ensuring clarity and accuracy during the calculation process.

Next Step

Step 3: Create Difference Column

Having a third column in Excel labeled as ‘Difference’ will allow you to easily calculate and display the time interval between two dates. This feature is useful for tracking durations and analyzing patterns in your data.

Next Step

Step 4: Input Subtract Formula

To calculate the difference between two dates in Excel, select the cell below the ‘Difference’ label, enter the formula “=B2-A2” (where A2 is the earlier date and B2 is the later date), and press enter. Excel will compute the date difference automatically.

Next Step

Step 5: Format the Result

In Excel, you can calculate the number of days between dates. To get the result in years, months, or other formats, go to the ‘Home’ tab, choose ‘Number Format’ from the menu, and select your preferred format.

Next Step

Step 6: Drag Formula for Rest of Cells

To quickly calculate the differences between a list of dates, simply enter the formula in the first cell of the difference column. Then, drag the formula downwards to copy it to the other cells in the column.


In conclusion, learning how to subtract dates in Excel can greatly enhance your productivity and allow you to efficiently analyze time frames and durations. By using simple formulas and functions such as DATEDIF or subtraction, you can effortlessly calculate the difference between two dates and obtain meaningful insights. Whether you need to track project deadlines, monitor employee attendance, or analyze sales trends, Excel provides a reliable and versatile solution. With the tips and techniques outlined in this blog post, you can confidently tackle any date subtraction task and streamline your data analysis process. So why wait? Start mastering date subtraction in Excel today and take control of your data like a pro!

Table of Contents