Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Invaluable DATEVALUE Function

A Date is a Date is a Date (well, that certainly wasn’t true back in my college days). Nor is it true in Excel. What may look like a Date, may not “play nice” with other dates that you have in your worksheet.

Let’s say that you have inherited an Excel workbook made by some Genius, (please note the thinly veiled sarcasm), and you want to Perform Some Analysis (in your case, truly genius work) that save the company countless hours and expense. The trouble is that unless you can Rely on the consistency of the way Excel will be handling the “dates” in the worksheets, you Cannot Rely on the efficacy of your results (the old “Garbage In, Garbage Out” cliché).

So what is an Excel Guru to do? DATEVALUE to the Rescue! Yes, indeed, my friends, DATEVALUE will calm your nerves, relieve your upset stomach, cure that nagging doubt that you are being watched, and make any Dates in your worksheet work in consistency with all of the dates therein. (Well, I may have exaggerated some of the attributes, but it will make your dates play nice with each other…). DATEVALUE will instantly convert any looks-like-a-date Date into the standard Excel serial number, and you can then format it as you wish.

How Cool is that! It may sound minor, but it can save you a world of grief in many circumstances.

Note of Caution: For you Apple Users out there, (I use Excel on a MacBook occasionally myself), Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh uses a different date system as its default (go figure…). The

The DATEVALUE function: Good Stuff!

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