DAYS Function – Google Sheets

The DAYS function is a simple date function that calculates the number of days between two dates.

If the start and end dates are reversed, the function returns a negative number.

Calculating the difference between two days with the - operator or MINUS function produces the same result unless the end_date or start_date contain times. Using subtraction can result in a fraction of a day while using the DAYS function ignores times and always returns whole numbers.

Before reading the examples below, ensure you know how dates and times work as a large part of using date functions correctly is understanding what makes up a valid date. If you do not provide valid dates, the formula will error.

Purpose

The DAYS function returns the number of days between two dates.

Function help for DAYS

DATEDIF – Calculates the length of time between two dates in years, months, days, or a combination thereof. Use this for a more flexible alternative.

MINUS – Subtracts one value from another. You can use this function with dates.

NETWORKDAYS – Calculates the number of workdays between two dates.

NETWORKDAYS.INTL – Calculates the number of workdays between two dates. NETWORKDAYS.INTL can exclude holidays if you provide them. This function is a more flexible version of NETWORKDAYS.

Errors

#NUM – The inputs are numbers but are not valid dates. If you used the 35th day of November, “11/35/2018”, your dates would be invalid.

#VALUE! – The inputs don’t convert to a number such as “The other day” or “Yester-yester-day”.

Syntax

=DAYS(end_date,start_date)

Note that, for some reason, the function wants the ending date first, then the starting date.

Video Explanation

YouTube Video Explaining the DAYS Function

Examples

Below are a few simple examples of the function working well in a spreadsheet.

FormulaDescriptionResult
=DAYS("7/31/2017","7/30/2016")Number of days between 7/30/2016 and 7/31/2017366
=DAYS("1/7/2020","12/5/2015")Number of days between 12/5/2015 and 1/7/20201,494
=DAYS(C3,"3/5/2001")Number of days between 3/5/2001 and 2/9/1994 (assuming that 2/9/1994 is in cell C3)-2,581

Next, let’s look at a few examples of the function breaking down.

FormulaDescriptionResult
=DAYS("12/1/2015","The other day") "The other day" cannot be parsed as a valid date. #VALUE!
=DAYS("12/1/2015","11/35/2014") "11/35/2014" cannot be parsed as a valid date. #VALUE!
=DAYS("12/1/2015",33333333) 33333333 is a numeric value that falls outside the range of valid dates. #NUM!

For output including years and months, consider using the DATEDIF function.

Live Examples in Sheets

Go to this spreadsheet for examples of the DAYS function that you can study and use anywhere you would like.

Leave a Comment