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Determining Differences Between Dates

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Determining Differences Between Dates.

When you are programming Excel macros, you should know that dates are stored internally, within variables, as serial numbers. The serial number represents the number of days elapsed since a starting "base date," specifically since 1 January 100. This means that you can perform math with the serial numbers, if desired. You can, for instance, find the number of days between two dates by simply subtracting the dates from each other.

Note that the starting date above is not a typo; in macros the calculations are from a much earlier base date than they are in a worksheet. (Worksheets use either 1900 or 1904 as their base date, depending on how you've configured Excel.) This means that macros can work with a much wider range of dates than can be done in worksheets.

If you want to get fancier in your date calculations, you can use the DateDiff function. This function allows you, for instance, to determine the number of weeks or months between two dates. In order to use the function to find this type of information, you would do as follows:

iNumWeeks = DateDiff("ww", dFirstDate, dSecondDate)
iNumMonths = DateDiff("m", dFirstDate, dSecondDate)

The first line determines the number of weeks between the two dates, and the second determines the number of months between them.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2535) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Determining Differences Between Dates.

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