As you work in spreadsheets, you’ll often find yourself using dates in formulas. Sometimes, you may have key elements like the year, month, and day listed in separate cells. Fortunately, Excel makes it easy to combine these values into a single date. Let’s learn how to use DATE in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use DATE in Excel
Imagine that you have a spreadsheet with three columns: one lists months, one lists days, and one lists years. To process your data, you want to combine these values into a single, date-formatted cell. This is where Excel’s DATE function comes in. DATE recognizes these independent values and seamlessly combines them into a single cell with a full date.
To get started with DATE, you’ll need year, month, and date values numerically formatted like you see below. For example, April should be written as 4, not as “April,” “Apr,” or similar.
Then, your next step is to click into any empty cell in your workbook. Type an = sign first. This tells Excel that you’re inputting a formula into the selected cell. Then, type DATE( to add your DATE function.
So far, your formula reads:
Now, Excel asks for three inputs: year, month, and day. To complete the formula, click into the first cell containing a year, then type a comma. Repeat for the month and day cells, then close your parentheses. Here, your complete formula is:
Hit Enter on your keyboard, and Excel will return the combined date value. Notice also that your cell automatically reformats to Date format, making it easier to work with the data while preserving the date inside the cell.
As you can see, Excel’s DATE function makes it easy to work with multiple cells containing date information. It’s an easy way to unify data and view dates quickly and easily.