How Excel Handles Dates

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The way Excel handles dates is different from the way a human would see it. Once you understand dates you will better understand how to make them work for you.

What is a valid Excel date?

Excel sees dates as a number, and the number it uses is based on the 1st January 1900.

Where you would see

  • 1st Jan 2009,
  • Excel sees 39 814 i.e. 39 814 days after the 1 January 1900.

Below what you see and what Excel actually sees. Note that 1 Jan 1890 is not a ‘date’ because Excel can’t handle dates before the 1 Jan 1900. Look at some of the other dates and what Excel sees.


Below a video clip providing some more details.

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