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: Displaying a Number as Years and Months.

Displaying a Number as Years and Months

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 18, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Robert has a formula that determines the payback period for certain investments. For instance, with $20,000 investment in energy-savings equipment and an annual energy savings of $3000, the simplistic payback period to recoup the investment is 6.6667 years. Robert wonders how he can make this payback period (6.6667) show as years and months instead of as a decimal number.

This can be done by simply multiplying the portion of the answer at the right of the decimal point by 12, which results in a number of months. Here is one way to get the desired result, assuming that the payback result is in cell A1:

=INT(A1) & " years / " & ROUNDUP((A1-INT(A1))*12,0) & " months"

With the value 6.6667 in cell A1, the formula would return "6 years / 8 months".

If you are using Microsoft 365, you also have access to the LET function. Using this you can make your formula more complex, but it ends up being more versatile. Here's an example:

=LET(A, ROUNDUP(A1*12,0)/12, Y, INT(A), M, ROUNDUP((A-Y)*12,0),
Y & IF(Y=1, " year", " years") & IF(M=0, " exactly", " / " &
M & IF(M=1, " month"," months")))

Even though I've shown the formula on three lines here, remember that it is a single, long formula. The LET function allow you to define variables that can be used in your formula. In this case, the pertinent variables being defined are Y (the number of years) and M (the number of months). The formula returns, in Robert's case, "6 years / 8 months" (just like the earlier formula), but it really shines if the number of months is 0 or 1. If it is 0, then the formula returns something like "6 years exactly", and if the number of months is 1, then it would return something like "6 years / 1 month" (note the lack of plural "months"). If will even handle "year" and "years" correctly.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12485) 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: Displaying a Number as Years and Months.

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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Comments

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What is two more than 7?

2023-11-18 15:41:44

J. Woolley

The Tip's formulas do not yield its reported results. The first formula should be corrected by using ROUND instead of ROUNDUP, so it becomes:
=INT(A1) & " years / " & ROUND((A1-INT(A1))*12,0) & " months"

Here is simpler version:
=INT(A1) & " years / " & INT(MOD(A1*12,12)) & " months"

The second formula should also be corrected by using ROUND instead of ROUNDUP (all on one line):
=LET( Y, INT(A1), M, ROUND((A1-Y)*12,0), Y & IF(Y=1, " year", " years") &
IF(M=0, " exactly", " / " & M & IF(M=1, " month"," months")))

Here is another version (all on one line):
=LET( Y, INT(A1), M, INT(MOD(A1*12,12)), Y & IF(Y=1, " year", " years") &
IF(M=0, " exactly", " / " & M & IF(M=1, " month"," months")))

And here is a simpler one based on Willy Vanhaelen's method for plural values (all on one line):
=LET( Y, INT(A1), M, INT(MOD(A1*12,12)), Y & LEFT(" years",4+Y) &
IF(M=0, " exactly", " / " & M & LEFT(" months",5+M)))

Finally, it is possible to specify a custom Fraction Number format for cell A1 instead of adding a text formula to another cell. This custom format
0 "and" 0/12 "yr"
will display 6.6667 as
6 and 8/12 yr


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