To get the difference between two date values in years, months or even days, we can use the excel DATEDIF function. This is a compatibility function that originates from Lotus 1-2-3. This post provides a clear elaboration on how to use the **Excel DATEDIF function** to get differences in date values in years, months and days.

* Figure 1: How find time differences using DATEDIF function*

**General syntax of the formula**

**=DATEDIF (start_date, end_date, unit)**

Where;

**Start_date**– refers to the start date in the excel date serial number format**End_date**– refers to the end date in the excel serial number format**Unit-**time unit in use, (years, months or days)

**Understanding the formula**

- This function is only documented in Excel 2000. This means that Excel will not fill out the arguments for you. But if configured correctly, the function works perfectly.
- The function calculates the time in between the start and end dates. This can be in years, months or days.
- The unit argument refers to the time to be returned, and can be supplied as text.
- If the start date is greater than the end date, the DATEDIF function will return a
**#NUM error**. - To manage the error, especially when the start and end dates are unknown, you can use the IFERROR function.

**Example**

*Figure 2: Using DATEDIF function to find time differences*

In this example, we want to find the time differences between start time in column B and end time in column C.

- In the result column, which is column E, we shall have the time differences for all the dates indicated.
- In cell E2 we put our formula;
**=DATEDIF (B2,C2,”Y”)** - We then press Enter to get the time difference for that row.
- We then copy down the formula to get the results for all the other rows, in the result column.

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