How to Increment the Month in an Excel Spreadsheet: A Step-by-Step Guide

Incrementing the month in an Excel spreadsheet is as simple as writing a formula. If you have a date in a cell and you want to add a month to that date, you can use the EDATE function. This function takes two arguments: the start date and the number of months you want to add. After you enter the formula and press enter, the cell will display the date that is one month later.

Once you’ve completed the action, the cell in the Excel spreadsheet where you entered the formula will update to display the new date, which reflects the month incremented by the number you specified.


Excel spreadsheets are like Swiss army knives for anyone who deals with numbers and dates regularly. Whether you’re in finance, project management, or just love to keep your personal budget on track, Excel has something for you. One of the key features of Excel is its date and time functions. Among them is the ability to increment months, which is incredibly useful when creating schedules, forecasts, and planning ahead.

But why is this important? Well, dates are a critical part of many business operations. Think about it: contracts have start and end dates, projects have deadlines, and businesses need to plan for future events. Being able to manipulate dates easily in Excel not only saves time but also reduces the risk of manual errors. It’s a skill that is relevant to just about anyone who uses Excel in their job, from an intern to a CEO.

Step by Step Tutorial: Incrementing the Month in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve. By incrementing the month in Excel, we can quickly calculate future dates based on current ones. This is handy for tracking deadlines, setting reminders, or planning events.

Step 1: Select the cell with the date

Click on the cell that has the date you want to increment.

Selecting the correct cell is crucial because this is where the formula will be applied. Make sure that the cell you select contains a date formatted in Excel’s recognized date format.

Step 2: Enter the EDATE formula

Type in the EDATE formula with the appropriate arguments in the selected cell.

The EDATE formula is written as =EDATE(start_date, months). In the ‘start_date’ argument, you reference the cell with the original date. For the ‘months’ argument, you input the number of months you want to add to the start date.

Step 3: Press Enter

After typing in the formula, press Enter to execute the function.

Upon pressing Enter, Excel will calculate the new date with the incremented month and display it in the cell. It’s that easy!


Time-savingIncrementing months using Excel’s EDATE function is much faster than manually calculating each new date.
AccuracyUsing a formula reduces the chance of errors that can occur with manual date calculations.
AutomationOnce set up, the formula can be dragged to other cells to increment months for multiple dates at once.


Learning CurveSome users may find it challenging to learn and remember Excel functions.
Date Format DependencyThe function will not work if the original date is not in a format recognized by Excel.
Limited to MonthsThe EDATE function is specifically for adding months and cannot add days or years directly.

Additional Information

When working with dates in Excel, it’s essential to ensure that Excel recognizes your dates as such. Sometimes, when you input a date, Excel might treat it as text. To avoid this, always check the cell format. You can do this by right-clicking on the cell, selecting ‘Format Cells,’ and then choosing ‘Date’ under the ‘Number’ tab.

Another helpful tip is to use cell references in your formulas instead of typing the dates directly into the formula. This allows for more dynamic formulas that automatically update when the referenced cell’s date changes. Moreover, if you need to increment by more than just months, such as days or years, Excel has functions for that too, like EOMONTH for the end of the month, and DATE for more complex date calculations.

Remember, the power of Excel lies in its ability to perform complex tasks quickly. By mastering functions like EDATE, you can save time and improve the accuracy of your work.


  1. Select the cell with the original date.
  2. Enter the EDATE formula with the start date and number of months.
  3. Press Enter to display the new incremented date.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to subtract months instead of adding them?

Simply use a negative number for the ‘months’ argument in the EDATE function.

Can I increment by years or days using the EDATE function?

No, EDATE is specifically for months. For years or days, you’ll need to use DATE or other related functions.

Will the incremented date take into account leap years?

Yes, Excel’s date functions automatically adjust for leap years.

Can I increment the month for multiple dates at once?

Yes, you can drag the formula to apply it to adjacent cells with different dates.

What happens if the start date is the last day of the month?

Excel will return the last day of the new month, adjusted for shorter or longer months.


Incrementing the month in an Excel spreadsheet might seem like a small thing, but it’s a powerful tool that can save you time and hassle. Whether you’re managing projects, tracking deadlines, or planning events, being able to quickly and accurately manipulate dates is a skill that will serve you well.

Excel’s EDATE function is just one of many functions that make Excel such a versatile and essential tool for personal and professional use. So, go ahead, give it a try, and watch your productivity soar.

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