Basic Description

The Excel Datevalue function converts a text representation of a date, into an Excel date. ie. the function converts a text string representing a date, into the serial number that represents the date in Excel’s date-time code.

Syntax: DATEVALUE( date_text )

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

  • 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:

1 =DATEVALUE( “01/01/2012” )
2 =DATEVALUE( “01/01/12” )
3 =DATEVALUE( “01/01” )
4 =DATEVALUE( “01/01/29” )
5 =DATEVALUE( “01/01/30” )
1 40909 – represents the date 01/01/2012
2 40909 – represents the date 01/01/2012
3 40909 – represents the date 01/01/2012
4 47119 – represents the date 01/01/2029
5 10959 – represents the date 01/01/1930

In the above example spreadsheet:

  • The text string in cell A3 contains just a day and month, and so the function returns a date in the current year. As these examples were input into Excel in the year 2012, the returned date has the year 2012.
  • The cells in the results spreadsheet all have the general formatting type. These values can be displayed as dates by setting the cell formatting to the date type. To do this:
  • 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 right.


 Results with date formatting:
1 01/01/2012
2 01/01/2012
3 01/01/2012
4 01/01/2029
5 01/01/1930



Datevalue Function Common Error

If you get an error from the Excel Datevalue function, this is likely to be the #VALUE! error occurs if the supplied date_text cannot be recognised as a valid Excel date.


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