# How to Subtract Dates in Excel to Get Months: A Step-by-Step Guide

Subtract Dates in Excel to Get Months

Subtracting dates in Excel to find out the number of months between them might seem tricky, but it’s actually a breeze once you know the steps. You’ll be using Excel functions like DATEDIF to calculate the months between two dates. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to subtract any two dates and find out exactly how many months are between them—all without breaking a sweat.

## Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Subtract Dates in Excel to Get Months

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the steps needed to subtract two dates in Excel to find the number of months between them. Each step includes a brief explanation and additional details to guide you through the process.

### Step 1: Open Excel and Enter Your Dates

Start by opening Excel and entering the dates you want to subtract in two separate cells.

For example, put the start date in cell A1 and the end date in cell B1. This sets up your worksheet for the calculation.

### Step 2: Select the Result Cell

Choose the cell where you want the result to appear, let’s say C1.

This is where the magic will happen, so make sure you remember this cell.

### Step 3: Enter the DATEDIF Function

In the result cell, enter the formula `=DATEDIF(A1, B1, "m")`.

This formula tells Excel to calculate the difference in months between the dates in A1 and B1.

### Step 4: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key to execute the formula.

Excel will now display the number of months between your two dates in the result cell.

### Step 5: Verify the Result

Double-check the dates and the result to make sure everything is correct.

If the result looks off, make sure your dates are entered correctly and formatted properly.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have the number of months between your two dates displayed in your chosen cell.

## Tips for Subtracting Dates in Excel to Get Months

1. Date Formatting:
Ensure your dates are formatted correctly as ‘Date’ in Excel. This prevents any errors in calculation.

2. Use Named Ranges:
For more complex spreadsheets, use named ranges to keep track of your date cells.

3. Leap Years:
Be aware that Excel accounts for leap years automatically, so no need to adjust for February 29th.

4. Error Checking:
If you get an error, make sure your dates are in a valid format and that the end date is not before the start date.

You can also use "d" for days and "y" for years with the DATEDIF function if you need different units of time.

### What if the end date is earlier than the start date?

Excel will return an error if the end date is before the start date. Make sure the end date occurs after the start date.

### Can I subtract dates in different formats?

As long as both dates are recognized by Excel as valid dates, the format should not matter. However, matching formats can help prevent errors.

### Does DATEDIF account for leap years?

Yes, DATEDIF automatically accounts for leap years, so you don’t need to worry about adjusting for February 29th.

### How do I display the result in years and months?

You can use the DATEDIF function twice, like this: `=DATEDIF(A1, B1, "y") & " years, " & DATEDIF(A1, B1, "ym") & " months"`.

### Can I use this method for negative results?

No, DATEDIF only works when the end date is after the start date. For negative results, you’d need a different approach.

## Summary

1. Open Excel and enter your dates.
2. Select the result cell.
3. Enter the DATEDIF function.
4. Press Enter.
5. Verify the result.

## Conclusion

So, there you have it. Subtracting dates in Excel to get the number of months between them is straightforward once you know the ropes. Armed with the DATEDIF function and a few tips, you can now tackle date calculations in your spreadsheets like a pro.

Whether you’re managing a project timeline, calculating employee tenure, or just curious about the time between two events, Excel has got you covered. If you found this tutorial helpful, consider diving deeper into Excel’s powerful functions. The more you practice, the more intuitive it will become. Happy calculating!