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 August 15, 2007, you can simply enter the date by typing August 15, 2007 (or use any of a number of different date formats). Excel interprets your entry and stores the value 39309, which is the serial number for that date.

Note In this chapter, I assume the U.S. date system. If your computer uses a different date system, you'll need to adjust accordingly. For example, you might need to enter 15 August 2007.

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