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# How to calculate difference between two dates in Excel

Learn how to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel. Maybe you have tried several times, but you are still getting errors. There are a few functions you can use to get the results faster. Find out how you can easily learn to format cells into Date or Number. This article also shows you how to calculate the age difference between two dates in Excel 2007 and more.

## Table of contents

## Calculate the difference between two dates in Excel

If you need to know the number of days between two dates, you can easily subtract one date from the other in Excel.

**=End date-Start date**

If the start date is greater than the end date, the result will be a minus** **number. The example below shows you how to write the subtraction of cell C2 in the formula bar. It also shows where to format the cell as general. Remember that the cell range (A2:B3) should be formatted into a **Date **and the cell range (C2:C3) into **General **or a **Number**. Otherwise, Excel will not show it correctly.

Please notice that writing a date can be different for each country. Some countries write the date in this order **day/month/year** or the following order **month/day/year**. Excel uses your computer’s date system. So if a cell’s date is **not **entered using the same date system, Excel will **not **see it as a true date. Even if you know how to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel, you can still get **#VALUE** as a result.

### How to format cells into different date type

Let’s say that your computer’s date system is day/month/year, but you want to show the date in the order month/day/year. Then you can change this by following the steps below.

In the formula bar, you **always **have to write the date order as your computer’s date settings. Then you have to open the Format Cells box, which you can do in many ways.

- Select the cells you want to format >
**Right-click**on one of the cells > Choose**Format Cells**, and the box will open immediately.

- Or select the cells and press
**CTRL**+**1**on your keyboard. It will automatically open the box**Format Cells**.

The** Format Cells **opens automatically, and you are in the tab called **Number**. Under that, you can see that **Category **is highlighted. In the list underneath, you have to select **Date**. Then change the **location **into English (United States) to get the date order month/day/year. Then choose the **type **of date above it by scrolling down on the arrow. The date you select will be colored blue. Lastly, click **OK**.

The example below shows you the result of the dates. You can see that the dates are formatted in a different order, months/day/year. At the same time, the date in the formula bar will stay the same as your computer’s date system.

## Calculate the age difference between two dates in Excel

First, you have to make sure that the cells that contain your dates are formatted to **Date**. To calculate the difference between two dates, you can use the DATEDIF function in Excel. The Excel DATEDIF function returns the difference between two dates in years, months, or days.

The DATEDIF function consists of two cells, followed by a year, month, or day.

**=DATEDIF(start date,end date,unit)**

### Problem using DATEDIF function

Some people get an **error **when using the DATEDIF function. Start to write the formula in the cell you want and click on the start date, cell A2,** **followed by a comma.

**=DATEDIF(A2, **

The next step is to click on cell **B2** (end date). Unfortunately, you can’t continue, and a box shows up, saying that there is a problem with the formula. Even though the instructions in Microsoft Office say that you can use a **comma **between the cells in the formula bar, you still get this problem.

You are trying to calculate the difference between two birth dates in Excel, but it is not working. Even if you follow the instructions as proposed, you might still get errors. That is because the DATEDIF function contains an error.

The solution to this problem is to use a **semicolon **(;) between the cells. So, use the semicolon, and the function should look like the example below.

**=DATEDIF(A2;B2;”D”)**

Remember that the start date should be smaller than the end date, or you will get **#NUM!** as a result.

Read more How to calculate age using date of birth in Excel »

## Conclusion

You have successfully learned how to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel. You had encountered some problems when using the DATEDIF function, but you can solve them now. Remember to change the cells that contain your dates are formatted to Date. Now you know how to calculate the difference between two dates in Excel 2007 and more.

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