Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Calculating Future Workdays.

Calculating Future Workdays

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 1, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Using Excel to calculate a date in the future is rather easy. If you have a cell (such as C3) that contains a starting date, you can simply use a formula such as the following in a different cell:

=C3 + 3

If you format the cell with the formula as a date, it will be three days in the future.

When you want to calculate workdays, the task gets trickier. For instance, you only want to return a date that is between Monday and Friday. If the starting date was a Thursday, this means the return date should be Monday, even though Sunday is the real day that is three days hence.

One quick way to figure a date three workdays in the future is to use the CHOOSE worksheet function. For instance, let's say you have the issue date for a document and you store that date in cell B5. If you want cell B6 to show a date three workdays later, then you would place the following formula in cell B6 and make sure it is formatted as a date:

=B5 + CHOOSE(WEEKDAY(B5), 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 4)

This formula assumes that workdays are Monday through Friday. You can tinker with it to pick a different five-day workweek, if desired. The formula works because the CHOOSE function allows you to choose what value (3, 4, or 5) is added to the date in cell B5. The WEEKDAY function is used to specify which of the seven values should be used. Since WEEKDAY returns a value of 1 (Sunday) through 7 (Saturday), you can see that the values selected by CHOOSE take into account the weekend days when doing the addition.

If you also want your formula to take holidays into account, then you must get a bit more creative. For these instances you can use the WORKDAY function:

=WORKDAY(B5,3)

After you format the cell as a date, it will show the date three workdays in the future. To include holidays, the simplest way is to set up your holidays in the worksheet. For instance, you might put your company holidays in the worksheet in cells K4 through K10. Then, select the cells and give them a name, such as Holidays. You can now use your holiday range in the WORKDAY function. Change the formula in cell B6 so it looks like this:

=WORKDAY(B5,3,Holidays)

Now the function will always take your holidays into account when returning a date three workdays in the future.

It should be noted that the WORKDAY function assumes that the non-workdays are Saturday and Sunday. This might not always be the case, however. If you want the ability to specify different non-workdays, the you should investigate the WORKDAY.INTL function, which was introduced in Excel 2010. It works much the same as the WORKDAY function, except it added a new parameter that is specified in the third position. For instance, let's say that you run a restaurant and you are closed on Sunday and Monday. (These are your non-workdays.) In that case, you could calculate future workdays, with holidays, by using the following:

=WORKDAY(B5,3,2,Holidays)

Note the addition of the third parameter. This is a value indicating which days of the week are your non-workdays. The value can be one of the following:

Value Non-Workdays
1 Saturday/Sunday
2 Sunday/Monday
3 Monday/Tuesday
4 Tuesday/Wednesday
5 Wednesday/Thursday
6 Thursday/Friday
7 Friday/Saturday
11 Sunday
12 Monday
13 Tuesday
14 Wednesday
15 Thursday
16 Friday
17 Saturday

Other than the added third parameter, the WORKDAY.INTL function works the same as the WORKDAY function.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11415) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Calculating Future Workdays.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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