Working with Dates and Times

Excel uses a serial number system to store dates. The earliest date that Excel can understand is January 1, 1900. This date has a serial number of 1. January 2, 1900, has a serial number of 2, and so on.

Most of the time, you don't have to be concerned with Excel's serial number date system. You simply enter a date in a familiar date format, and Excel takes care of the details behind the scenes. For example, if you need to enter June 1, 2004, you can simply enter the date by typing June 1, 2004 (or use any of a number of different date formats). Excel interprets your entry and stores the value 38139, which is the serial number for that date.

In this chapter, I assume the U.S. date system. If your system uses a different date system,you'll need to adjust accordingly. For example, you might need to enter 1 June, 2004.

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