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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Copying Headers and Footers

Need to get headers and footers from one document to another? You can use the steps in this tip to help make quick work of ...

Discover More

Centering a Paragraph with the Keyboard

Need a quick shortcut that you can use to center your paragraph between the margins? The answer is here.

Discover More

Removing a Directory

Your macro, in the course of doing some processing, may create a directory that you later need to delete. Here's how to get ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Working with Elapsed Time

Work with times in a worksheet and you will eventually want to start working with elapsed times. Here's an explanation of ...

Discover More

Counting Dates in a Range

Excel makes working with a list of dates relatively easy. If you have a list of dates, you may need to know how many of those ...

Discover More

Working with Minutes

For many Excel users—particularly beginners—working with elapsed time can be bewildering. This tip explains how ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.