How to Calculate Past Due Date on MS Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating past due dates in MS Excel is a breeze with the right formula. All you need is the original due date and the current date to determine how many days a payment or task is overdue. Once you input these dates, Excel will do the rest for you, providing a clear numerical value for the number of days past due.

After completing the calculation, you’ll have a precise number of days that a payment or task is overdue. This can be incredibly useful for financial tracking, project management, or any situation where timing is crucial.


When it comes to managing deadlines and keeping track of due dates, MS Excel is a lifesaver. Whether you’re a business owner tracking client payments, a project manager keeping an eye on task completion, or just someone who likes to stay on top of things, knowing how to calculate past due dates in Excel is a skill that will serve you well.

Why is this important, you ask? Well, for starters, it helps you stay organized and accountable. Keeping track of past due dates can prevent you from incurring late fees, missing critical deadlines, or disappointing clients. Plus, it gives you a clear picture of where things stand at any given moment. Are you a numbers person? Great! Even if you aren’t, don’t worry—Excel has got your back, making calculations effortless. So, whether you’re a spreadsheet newbie or a seasoned pro, stick around. We’re about to dive into the nitty-gritty of past due date calculations, and trust me, it’s simpler than you think!

Step by Step Tutorial: Calculating Past Due Date

Before we jump into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve. We will be using Excel to calculate the number of days that have passed since a particular due date. This is useful to track overdue payments, missed appointments, or any scenario where you need to know how “late” something is.

Step 1: Enter the Due Date and Current Date

Input the original due date in one cell and the current date in another.

In this step, you’ll need to have two dates: the date something was due and the current date. Make sure you enter them in a recognizable date format for Excel, such as MM/DD/YYYY. This ensures Excel reads them as dates rather than plain text or numbers.

Step 2: Use the DATEDIF Function

In a new cell, type in the DATEDIF function: =DATEDIF(past due date cell, current date cell, “d”).

The DATEDIF function is a hidden gem in Excel. It calculates the difference between two dates and you can specify the unit of time. In this case, we’re using “d” for days to find out the number of days past due.

Step 3: Press Enter to Calculate

Once you’ve typed in the function, hit enter to obtain the number of days past due.

As soon as you press enter, Excel will work its magic. If done correctly, the cell where you entered the formula will now display the number of days that have passed since the due date.


Quick CalculationExcel’s formulas offer immediate results, saving you time.
AccuracyUsing Excel minimizes the risk of human error in calculations.
Historical RecordExcel allows you to keep a log of past due dates for reference.


Learning CurveSome users may find Excel’s functions intimidating at first.
Limited ContextExcel calculates numbers without context or rationale.
Technical IssuesExcel is software that can crash or experience glitches.

Additional Information

When calculating past due dates, it’s valuable to note that Excel can handle a variety of date-related calculations. For instance, if you need to calculate the past due date for multiple entries, you can drag the formula down to apply it to other rows—Excel will adjust the cell references automatically.

Also, consider using conditional formatting to highlight past due dates. This can make overdue items stand out, so they’re not lost in a sea of data. To do this, select the cells with dates, go to the ‘Home’ tab, click on ‘Conditional Formatting’, and set your parameters—maybe you want the cell to turn red when a date is over 30 days past due. Handy, right?

Remember, Excel is a powerful tool with a myriad of functions. Don’t be afraid to explore beyond what’s covered here to make your spreadsheets even more effective.


  1. Enter Due Date and Current Date
  2. Use the DATEDIF Function
  3. Press Enter to Calculate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Excel calculate overdue dates automatically?

Yes, once you set up the formula, Excel will update the number of days past due automatically when you open the sheet.

What happens if I enter the dates incorrectly?

Excel might return an error or incorrect result. Double-check that you’ve entered the dates in a format that Excel recognizes.

Can I calculate past due dates for a future date?

Yes, Excel will simply return a negative number to indicate that the due date is in the future.

What if my spreadsheet deals with different time zones?

You’ll need to ensure that all dates are standardized to a single time zone for accurate calculations.

Can Excel send reminders for past due dates?

While Excel itself doesn’t send reminders, you can use it in conjunction with email clients or reminder apps by exporting your data.


Calculating past due dates in MS Excel is a simple yet powerful way to stay on top of deadlines and overdue tasks. With the straightforward DATEDIF function, you’re not just crunching numbers—you’re gaining valuable insights into your work or personal life, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.

Remember, Excel is more than just a spreadsheet program; it’s a tool that, when mastered, can transform your organizational skills. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as those looming deadlines become a thing of the past. Happy calculating!

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