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: Calculating Future Workdays.

Calculating Future Workdays

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 14, 2017)

Using Excel to calculate a date in the future is rather easy. If you have a cell (such as C3) that contains a starting date, you can simply use a formula such as the following in a different cell:

=C3 + 3

If you format the cell with the formula as a date, it will be three days in the future.

When you want to calculate workdays, the task gets trickier. For instance, you only want to return a date that is between Monday and Friday. If the starting date was a Thursday, this means the return date should be Monday, even though Sunday is the real day that is three days hence.

One quick way to figure a date three workdays in the future is to use the CHOOSE worksheet function. For instance, let's say you have the issue date for a document, and you store that date in cell B5. If you want cell B6 to show a date three workdays later, then you would place the following formula in cell B6 and make sure it is formatted as a date:

=B5 + CHOOSE(WEEKDAY(B5), 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 4)

This formula assumes that workdays are Monday through Friday. You can tinker with it to pick a different five-day workweek, if desired.

If you also want your formula to take holidays into account, then you must get a bit more creative. For these instances you can use the WORKDAY function, which is included as part of the Analysis ToolPak add-in. This means that you must make sure the Analysis ToolPak add-in is loaded before you can use WORKDAY. You can check if it is loaded by choosing Add-Ins from the Tools menu. Once the add-in is loaded, you could use the following formula in cell B6 to calculate the target date:

=WORKDAY(B5,3)

After you format the cell as a date, it will show the date three workdays in the future. To include holidays, the simplest way is to set up your holidays in the worksheet. For instance, you might put your company holidays in the worksheet in cells K4 through K10. Then, select the cells and give them a name, such as Holidays. You can now use your holiday rante in the WORKDAY function. Change the formula in cell B6 so it looks like this:

=WORKDAY(B5,3,Holidays)

Now the function will always take your holidays into account when returning a date three workdays in the future.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2164) 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: Calculating Future Workdays.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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