DATEVALUE function

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the DATEVALUE function in Microsoft Excel.


The DATEVALUE function converts a date that is stored as text to a serial number that Excel recognizes as a date. For example, the formula =DATEVALUE("1/1/2008") returns 39448, the serial number of the date 1/1/2008. Remember, though, that your computer's system date setting may cause the results of a DATEVALUE function to vary from this example

The DATEVALUE function is helpful in cases where a worksheet contains dates in a text format that you want to filter, sort, or format as dates, or use in date calculations.

To view a date serial number as a date, you must apply a date format to the cell. Find links to more information about displaying numbers as dates in the See Also section.



The DATEVALUE function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Date_text    Required. Text that represents a date in an Excel date format, or a reference to a cell that contains text that represents a date in an Excel date format. For example, "1/30/2008" or "30-Jan-2008" are text strings within quotation marks that represent dates.

    Using the default date system in Microsoft Excel for Windows, the date_text argument must represent a date between January 1, 1900 and December 31, 9999. The DATEVALUE function returns the #VALUE! error value if the value of the date_text argument falls outside of this range.

    If the year portion of the date_text argument is omitted, the DATEVALUE function uses the current year from your computer's built-in clock. Time information in the date_text argument is ignored.


  • Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so that they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2008 is serial number 39448 because it is 39,447 days after January 1, 1900.

  • Most functions automatically convert date values to serial numbers.


Copy the example data in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. For formulas to show results, select them, press F2, and then press Enter. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.









Serial number of a date entered as text.



Serial number of a date entered as text.



Serial number of a date entered as text.



Serial number of a date entered as text, using the 1900 date system, and assuming the computer's built-in clock returns 2011 as the current year.


=DATEVALUE(A2 & "/" & A3 & "/" & A4)

Serial number of a date created by combining the values in cells A2, A3, and A4.


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