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: The EDATE Function.

# The EDATE Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 31, 2015)

If you have a need to determine a date that is a known number of months in the future or the past, then the EDATE function can be quick and easy. For instance, if you are working with expiration dates for six-month contracts, you can use the following formula:

```=EDATE(NOW(),6)
```

The function takes the first date provided (in this case, using the NOW function) and uses the second parameter to determine the number of months future or past that should be calculated. The date parameter you use should resolve to a date serial number and not be a textual date.

If you use a negative value for the second parameter, then EDATE calculates a date in the past. For instance, if you wanted a date that was three months in the past, then you could use the following:

```=EDATE(NOW(),-3)
```

EDATE returns a date serial number; you may need to format the cell so it uses a date format that formats the returned value as you want it to appear.

You should note that if the EDATE function does not work on your system, it means you have not installed or enabled the Analysis ToolPak. Install the ToolPak and then you should be able to use the function.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3186) 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: The EDATE Function.

##### 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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