How to Use Excel to Count Days
By Danielle Cort
Updated September 28, 2017
Counting the number of days between two dates can be useful in many circumstances, including budgets, time lines or counting the number of days until an event. Excel offers a flexible function, DATEDIF, that can tell you how many years, months or days there are between two dates.
Open Excel to a new spreadsheet or load an existing spreadsheet.
Create three columns: one for the starting date, one for the ending date and one for a total count. For example, your starting date might be in column A, the ending date in column B and the total in column C.
Enter the starting dates in the first column and the ending dates in the second column.
Click on the first empty cell in your third column and enter the following formula:
Cell A2 would be where your starting date is and cell B2 would be where your ending date is. Replace these with your particular cell numbers if your starting and ending date columns are not in A and B respectively.
Copy the result to the other cells in your third column. Hover over the cell with the total number of days until you see a black cross in the bottom right corner. Click and drag the cell down the column until you have filled all the rows in the column.
If you want to count the number of days from a given date to today, skip entering dates in the second column and use the following formula instead: =DATEDIF(A2,TODAY(),”D”).
If you want to count the number of days from today to a future date, enter future dates in column A and skip entering dates in the second column. Use the following formula: =DATEDIF(TODAY(),A2,”D”).
Danielle Cort has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in psychology, health, education and parenting. She has published articles in "Family" magazine. Before becoming a freelance writer, Cort worked in the public policy research sector, conducting research, creating surveys and budgets. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts.