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Adding Dates & Times in Excel
Q: I'm using Microsoft Excel 2003. How can I take a date, say 12/10/2007, and add 2 months to it?
A: The simple way to add dates and times is to simply add values of 1 for each day. For example, if you have 1/1/2008 in cell A1, then you could say =A1+60 in cell B1 to add roughly two months to that date. This is good enough for most cases, and it works fine for weeks (adding 7 days).

You can do the same thing with times if you realize that an hour is 1/24th of a day. If you want to add 6 hours to a time (1/4 of a day) then you could say =A1+(1/4). If you want to add 5 hours, just say =A1+(5/24).

Now you just have to format the cell as a TIME and you get the right answer.

Now like I said, this is usually good enough for most cases. But what about when you really need to be exact? Well, you can use Excel's DATE and TIME functions for more exact date arithmetic. For example. Let's say you need to add 2 months again. This time, however, the start date is 3/1/08. Adding 60 gives you the wrong date.

So now we need something a little more advanced. Try using the DATE function: =DATE(YEAR(A1), MONTH(A1)+2, DAY(A1))

That adds exactly 2 months to the date in A1. You can do the same trick to add years or days. For example, this will add 5 years, 6 months, and 10 days to the date in A1: =DATE(YEAR(A1)+5, MONTH(A1)+6, DAY(A1))+10

Now adding TIME works just a little bit differently. If you want to add 6 hours to a cell use the TIME function like this: =A1+TIME(6,0,0)

Yes, the value comes up with a strange 1/0/1900 20:00 at first, but if you just format the cell as a TIME value, it's correct. The TIME function basically is =TIME(hours, minutes, seconds). So if you want to add 2 hours, 15 minutes, 10 seconds, you would say: =A1+TIME(2,15,10).

I cover dates and time in much more detail in my Excel 232 tutorial. I'll also show you how to calculate the difference between two dates or times, and teach you more about how dates and times are stored internally inside Excel.


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