# How to Convert Date to Number in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting a date to a number in Excel might sound tricky, but it’s actually pretty simple once you know how. You’ll be using Excel’s built-in functions to transform date formats into numerical values that the program can handle more flexibly. In just a few steps, you’ll be converting dates to numbers like a pro!

## How to Convert Date to Number in Excel

In this section, we’ll break down the steps needed to convert a date into a number in Excel. You’ll see how straightforward it is to take a date and turn it into a numerical format that can be used for various calculations and analyses.

### Step 1: Select the Cell with the Date

The first step is to click on the cell where your date is located.

Selecting the cell is crucial because you need to tell Excel which specific date you want to convert. Make sure you’ve clicked on the right cell to avoid any confusion later on.

### Step 2: Format the Cell as a Number

Right-click on the cell and select "Format Cells." Then, choose "Number" from the list.

Changing the cell format to a number will make Excel display the date as a numerical value. This is essential for further calculations, such as sorting dates numerically or using them in mathematical formulas.

### Step 3: Use the DATEVALUE Function

Type `=DATEVALUE(cell reference)` into another cell. For example, `=DATEVALUE(A1)` if your date is in cell A1.

The DATEVALUE function is handy because it converts a date written as text into a serial number that Excel can recognize. Just replace "cell reference" with the actual cell where your date is.

### Step 4: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key to execute the function and see the date converted to a number.

Once you press Enter, Excel will display the date as a serial number. This number represents the number of days since January 1, 1900, which is Excel’s default start date.

### Step 5: Copy the Number

Copy the numerical value if you need to use it elsewhere in your spreadsheet.

You can now easily copy the number and paste it into another cell or even another part of your worksheet. This makes it super easy to manage your data more effectively.

After you complete these steps, you will see your date transformed into a number format. This allows you to perform various operations that are not possible with standard date formats, like sorting, filtering, and mathematical calculations.

## Tips for Converting Date to Number in Excel

• Always double-check your cell references to avoid errors.
• Make sure your dates are in a recognizable format (MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY) before converting.
• If you encounter any errors, verify that the date is correctly formatted as text.
• Use the DATEVALUE function for dates stored as text and not already recognized by Excel.
• Familiarize yourself with the "Format Cells" menu to quickly switch between date and number formats.

### Why does Excel convert dates to numbers?

Excel uses serial numbers to store dates, which makes it easier to perform calculations and comparisons.

### Can I convert back from a number to a date?

Yes, you can format the number as a date again by using the "Format Cells" menu and selecting "Date."

### What if DATEVALUE returns an error?

Ensure the date is formatted as text and is in a recognizable date format.

### Are there shortcuts for these steps?

Yes, you can use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+1 to quickly access the "Format Cells" menu.

### Do I need to repeat this process for each date?

You can drag the formula down to apply it to multiple cells at once, saving you time.

## Summary

1. Select the cell with the date.
2. Format the cell as a number.
3. Use the DATEVALUE function.
4. Press Enter.
5. Copy the number.

## Conclusion

Converting a date to a number in Excel is a useful trick that simplifies data analysis and enhances functionality. With just a few steps, you can transform seemingly complex date formats into straightforward numerical values. This method not only makes your data easier to manage but also opens up a world of possibilities for sorting, filtering, and performing calculations. Whether you’re a data enthusiast or just someone looking to make your spreadsheets more manageable, learning how to convert date to number in Excel is a game-changer. Give it a try and see how much more efficient your data handling can become!