Excel DATEVALUE Function


Excel Dates
Note that Excel dates are stored internally as numerical values. Therefore, Excel generally doesn't recognise a text representation of a date as an actual date.

For more information on dates & times in Excel, see the Excel Dates & Times page.

Basic Description

The Excel Datevalue function converts a text representation of a date, into an Excel date.

i.e. the function converts a text string representing a date, into the serial number that represents the date in Excel's date-time code.

The syntax of the Datevalue function is :

DATEVALUE( date_text )

where the date_text argument is a text string representing a date.


Interpretation of Date Text Strings

When reading in the supplied date_text argument, the Datevalue function follows simple rules that are the same as if you type a date directly into a cell. These are :

Year Interpretation:

  • If just a date and month are provided, the date returned will have the current year.
  • The default settings for the year are that one- and two-digit years are interpreted as follows:
  • The numbers 0 through to 29 are interpreted as the years 2000 to 2029
  • The numbers 30 through to 99 are interpreted as the years 1930 to 1999

These rules are illustrated in the examples below.


Datevalue Function Examples

The following spreadsheet shows examples of the Excel Datevalue function:

 Formulas:
 A
1=DATEVALUE( "01/01/2015" )
2=DATEVALUE( "01/01/15" )
3=DATEVALUE( "01/01" )
4=DATEVALUE( "01/01/29" )
5=DATEVALUE( "01/01/30" )
 Results:
 AB
142005 - represents the date 01/01/2015
242005 - represents the date 01/01/2015
342005 - represents the date 01/01/2015
447119 - represents the date 01/01/2029
510959 - represents the date 01/01/1930

In the above example spreadsheet:

Formatting Cells to Display Dates

If the results of your Datevalue function are displayed as a simple number (as in the example above), and you want Excel to display the results as dates, this can be done by formatting the cells to have the date type. To do this:

 Results with date formatting:
 A
101/01/2012
201/01/2012
301/01/2012
401/01/2029
501/01/1930
  • Highlight the cell(s) to be formatted
  • Right click with the mouse
  • Select the Format Cells ... option and ensure the Number tab is selected
  • Under the Category heading, select the option Date. Select a date format from the list on the right and click OK

The resulting formatted spreadsheet is shown on the rightabove.

For more details on formatting in Excel, go to the Excel Formatting page.


Further information and examples of the Excel Datevalue function can be found on the Microsoft Office website.


Datevalue Function Common Error

If you get an error from the Excel Datevalue function, this is likely to be the #VALUE! error :

Common Error:
#VALUE!-Occurs if the supplied date_text cannot be recognised as a valid Excel date.