Excel DATE Formula

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the Excel DATE Function in Excel to create a date.

DATE Main Function

DATE Function Overview

The DATE Function Returns a date from year, month, and day.

To use the DATE Excel Worksheet Function, Select cell and Type:

date formula syntax

(Notice how the formula input appear)

DATE Function syntax and Inputs:

year – A year greater than 1900 (1904 for Macs). Example: 2010.

month – The corresponding number of the month you wish to use (1-12). The month number can also be negative or greater than 12. Example: 2.

day – The day of the month you wish to use (1-31). The day number can also be negative or greater than 31. Example: 18.

DATE Examples

The DATE Function is used to create dates by entering a year, month, and day:


Day and Month values can be zero:


or negative:

DATE DM Negative


Often the Date Function is used along with DAY, MONTH, or YEAR Functions to calculate a date based on another date.

This example will return the first day of the year based on a given date:

First day of the year

Date Serial Numbers

The DATE Function will return a serial number representing a date:

DATE Serial number

DATE in Google Sheets

The DATE Function works exactly the same in Google Sheets as in Excel:

Date Google sheet

Additional Notes

Use the DATE Function to create a date serial number. Just enter numbers corresponding to the month, day, and year. You can actually enter months greater than 12 or less than 1 and Days greater than 31 and less than 1. Entering month=13 will set the date to January of the following year. Month=0 will set the date to December of the previous year.

=date(2016,0,0) returns 11/30/2015.
From this starting point you can add or subtract months and days.

=date(2016,13,1) returns 1/1/2017

=date(2016,-5,1) returns 7/1/2015

The result of the DAY Function may appear as a serial number. Change the cell Number Formatting to Short Date to display the serial number as a date:
date formatting excel shortcut

DATE Examples in VBA

You can also use the DATE function in VBA. Type:
For the function arguments (year, etc.), you can either enter them directly into the function, or define variables to use instead.

Return to the List of all Functions in Excel