Excel YEAR Function

Basic Description

The Excel Year function returns an integer representing the year of a supplied date.

The syntax of the function is:

YEAR( serial_number )

where the serial_number argument is the date that you want to return the year of.

Note that Excel recommends that dates should be supplied to functions as either:

  • Serial numbers;
  • Reference to cells containing dates;
  • Date values returned from other Excel formulas.
If you attempt to input dates in text format, there is a risk that Excel may misinterpret them, due to different date systems, or date interpretation settings on your computer.

Year Function Examples

The following example shows the Year function used to extract the year from 3 different dates.

229-May-2015=YEAR( A2 )
305/03/1984=YEAR( A3 )
4 =YEAR( DATE(2016, 1, 1) )
4 2016

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

Year Function Common Problem

Common Problem:

The result of your Year function looks like a date (eg. "01/01/1900"), instead of returning an integer.


Most commonly, this problem arises because the new cell or column is formatted as a 'date'. In this case, it is only the formatting of the cell that is wrong, NOT the value returned by the function.

To correct this,

  • Highlight the cell(s) containing the result;
  • Right click with the mouse;
  • Select the Format Cells ... option and ensure the Number tab is selected;
  • Under the Category heading, select the option General and click OK.

- Read more about Excel Formatting here