If you want to subtract dates in Excel, it helps to understand the way that Excel stores dates.
Dates are stored as positive integers in Excel. It is only the formatting of an Excel cell that causes its contents to be displayed as a date, rather than an integer.
As Excel dates are internally stored as simple integers, you can subtract dates in Excel, in the same way that you can subtract any other integers.
I.e. to subtract dates in Excel:
(The easiest way to do this is to select the cell and then select the 'General' format from the drop-down menu in the Home tab of the Excel ribbon).
The result from the subtraction formula is equal to the number of days between the two dates.
Column C of the following spreadsheet shows three examples of Excel date subtraction formulas. In each case, the date in column A is subtracted from the date in column B.
If the result of your date subtraction is displayed as a date, but you require a simple number, you will need to change the formatting of the results cell, to display a number.
The easiest way to do this is to select the General formatting option from the drop-down format menu of the Excel ribbon. This is generally located in the 'Number' group, on the Home tab of the ribbon (see below):