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Chapter 13. Date and Time Functions > How Excel Stores Dates and Times

13.1. How Excel Stores Dates and Times

Before delving into the various functions Excel provides for working with date and time values, it is important that you understand how Excel stores the date and time values you place in worksheets.

Excel stores all dates as sequential numbers, also referred to as serial numbers. For example, January 13, 1987 is actually stored as 31790, which also means (if you are using the default Windows calculation) there are 31,790 days between January 1, 1900 and January 13, 1987. By the same token, because all times are actually a portion of a date, they are stored as decimal fractions. For example, 0.5 is 12:00 noon. The decimal number returned by TIME is a value ranging from to 0.99999999, so it represents the times from 0:00:00 (12:00:00) midnight to 23:59:59 (11:59:59 PM). Because dates and times are numeric values instead of strings, they can be added, subtracted, and included in other calculations.


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