# Excel Tutorial: How To Convert Date Into Number In Excel

## Introduction

Converting dates into numbers in Excel is a crucial skill to have for anyone working with large sets of data. By doing so, you can perform various calculations, sorting, and analysis easily. In this tutorial, we will provide a brief overview of the steps involved in the process, helping you to streamline your data management and analysis tasks.

• Explanation of the importance of converting dates into numbers in Excel
• Brief overview of the steps involved in the process

## Key Takeaways

• Converting dates into numbers in Excel is essential for efficient data management and analysis.
• Understanding the default date format and how Excel stores dates as serial numbers is crucial for accurate conversion.
• The DATEVALUE function and custom formatting are two primary methods for converting dates into numbers in Excel.
• Dealing with different date formats requires attention to detail and knowledge of Excel's capabilities.
• Maintaining data integrity and avoiding common pitfalls are key considerations when working with dates in Excel.

## Understanding the Date Format in Excel

When working with dates in Excel, it's important to understand how Excel stores and handles date values. By default, Excel uses the date format "MM/DD/YYYY" (month/day/year). This means that when you enter a date into a cell, Excel will automatically recognize it as a date and format it accordingly.

However, behind the scenes, Excel actually stores dates as serial numbers, which are the number of days since January 1, 1900. This allows Excel to perform calculations and manipulations with dates as if they were regular numbers.

### Explanation of the default date format in Excel

• Excel uses the default date format "MM/DD/YYYY" (month/day/year).
• When a date is entered into a cell, Excel recognizes it as a date and formats it accordingly.

### How Excel stores dates as serial numbers

• Behind the scenes, Excel stores dates as serial numbers, representing the number of days since January 1, 1900.
• This allows Excel to perform calculations and manipulations with dates as if they were regular numbers.

## Converting Date to Number using Excel Functions

When working with dates in Excel, it may be necessary to convert them into numbers for various calculations or analysis. The DATEVALUE function in Excel allows you to easily convert a date into a numerical value that can be used in mathematical operations.

### A. Explanation of the DATEVALUE function

• Datevalue Function: The DATEVALUE function in Excel is used to convert a date in the form of text into a serial number that represents the date in Excel's date format.
• Format: The syntax for the DATEVALUE function is =DATEVALUE(date_text), where date_text is the date in a text format or a reference to a cell containing the date.

### B. Demonstration of how to use the DATEVALUE function to convert dates into numbers

• Step 1: Enter the date in a cell in the format "mm/dd/yyyy" or "dd-mmm-yyyy". For example, "01/15/2023" or "15-Jan-2023".
• Step 2: In a separate cell, enter the formula =DATEVALUE(A1), where A1 is the cell containing the date.
• Step 3: Press Enter, and the cell will display the numerical value representing the date.
• Step 4: You can now use this numerical value in calculations or analysis as needed.

## Converting Date to Number using Custom Formatting

Excel provides various custom date formatting options that allow users to convert dates into numbers based on their specific requirements. Using custom formatting, users can easily change the appearance of dates without altering the actual date value. This is particularly useful when working with data that requires numerical representation of dates.

### Explanation of custom date formatting options in Excel

Excel offers a range of custom date formatting options that can be accessed through the "Format Cells" dialog box. To apply custom date formatting, users can select the cells containing the dates and then choose the "Custom" category in the Format Cells dialog. From here, they can enter a custom date format code to convert the date into a specific numerical representation.

• Date format codes: Excel allows users to create custom date format codes using a combination of characters such as "d" for day, "m" for month, and "y" for year. By arranging these characters in a specific sequence, users can convert dates into numerical representations based on their requirements.
• Custom date format examples: Users can utilize custom date format codes to convert dates into numbers in various formats, such as YYYYMMDD, MMDDYYYY, YYMM, and more. This flexibility allows for the conversion of dates into specific numeric structures that align with the user’s data analysis needs.

### Step-by-step guide on how to use custom formatting to convert dates into numbers

Converting dates into numbers using custom formatting in Excel can be easily accomplished by following these simple steps:

• Select the cells: Begin by selecting the cells containing the dates that need to be converted into numbers. This can be a single cell, a range of cells, or an entire column.
• Open the Format Cells dialog: Right-click on the selected cells, choose "Format Cells" from the context menu, or navigate to the "Number" tab in the Excel ribbon and click on "Format Cells."
• Choose the Custom category: In the Format Cells dialog box, select the "Custom" category from the list of available formatting options.
• Enter the custom format code: In the "Type" field within the Custom category, enter the desired custom format code that will convert the dates into numbers. For example, entering "YYYYMMDD" will convert the dates into an 8-digit numerical representation.
• Apply the custom format: After entering the custom format code, click "OK" to apply the custom formatting to the selected cells. The dates will now be displayed as numbers based on the specified custom format.

## Dealing with Different Date Formats

When working with dates in Excel, you may encounter different date formats that can cause challenges when you need to convert them into numbers. In this tutorial, we will address these issues and provide tips for handling various date formats effectively.

### A. Addressing issues with different date formats in Excel

Excel recognizes dates in various formats such as mm/dd/yyyy, dd/mm/yyyy, mmm dd, yyyy, and others. When you need to convert these dates into numbers, it's important to ensure that Excel interprets the date correctly to avoid any errors in your calculations.

• Text to Columns: If your dates are stored as text, you can use the Text to Columns feature in Excel to convert them into the desired format before converting them into numbers.
• Date Formats: Excel allows you to specify the default date format for your workbook, which can help standardize the date formats and make it easier to convert them into numbers.
• Custom Formats: You can create custom date formats in Excel to match the format of your dates before converting them into numbers. This can be useful when dealing with non-standard date formats.

### B. Tips for handling various date formats when converting to numbers

When converting dates into numbers in Excel, it's important to consider the following tips to ensure accuracy and consistency in your calculations:

• Use the DATEVALUE function: Excel's DATEVALUE function can be used to convert a date into a serial number, which represents the date in Excel's date system. This can be helpful when dealing with different date formats.
• Be mindful of regional settings: Excel's date system can be affected by regional settings, so it's important to be aware of the default date format in your region and adjust it accordingly when converting dates into numbers.
• Verify the results: After converting dates into numbers, it's essential to verify the results to ensure that the conversion was done accurately and that the numbers represent the correct dates.

When converting dates into numbers in Excel, it’s important to follow best practices and be aware of potential pitfalls to ensure the integrity of your date data.

### Best practices for maintaining the integrity of date data when converting to numbers

• Use the proper date format: Before converting dates into numbers, ensure that the date data is in the correct format. Excel recognizes dates based on the regional settings of your computer, so it’s important to use a consistent date format to avoid any discrepancies.
• Use the DATEVALUE function: To convert a date into a number, use the DATEVALUE function in Excel. This function returns the serial number of a date, which represents the number of days since January 1, 1900.
• Ensure data consistency: When working with date data, make sure that all dates in the dataset are formatted and entered consistently to avoid errors in the conversion process.
• Document your process: Keep track of the steps you take to convert dates into numbers, as well as any adjustments made to the data. This documentation can be helpful for auditing and troubleshooting purposes.

### Potential pitfalls to avoid when working with dates in Excel

• Incorrect date format: Using an inconsistent date format or entering dates in a format not recognized by Excel can lead to errors in the conversion process.
• Handling leap years: When working with date data that includes leap years, be mindful of how Excel handles leap years when converting dates into numbers to avoid inaccuracies.
• Time components: If your date data includes time components, be aware that converting dates into numbers using the DATEVALUE function will only capture the date portion, potentially leading to loss of information.

## Conclusion

Converting dates into numbers in Excel can offer many benefits, such as easier sorting and analysis of data, as well as the ability to perform calculations based on dates. By mastering this skill, you can significantly enhance your efficiency and productivity in handling date-related tasks in Excel.

Now that you have learned how to convert dates into numbers, I encourage you to practice and apply these newly acquired skills in your Excel projects. The more you use and familiarize yourself with these techniques, the more adept you will become in utilizing Excel to its fullest potential.

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