Pushing Dates Into Last Month

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 1, 2018)

8

Kathy needs a formula that will change any date within the current month to the last day of the previous month. She also notes that it would be helpful to have a VBA macro that could do this to the dates in a range of selected cells.

There are actually several different formulaic approaches you could use to derive the desired date. These two are the shortest and easiest to use:

=A1-DAY(A1)
=EOMONTH(A1,-1)

The first one works because of a quirk that "day 0" of the current month is always considered to be the last day of the previous month. Thus, if the date in cell A1 is 9/25/14 you end up subtracting 25 (the DAY value) from that day, giving a date of 9/0/14, or 8/31/14.

The second formula works because of the inclusion of the second parameter for the EOMONTH function. This parameter is used to indicate how many months in the past (negative) or future (positive) the end of the month should be calculated.

In either case, you may need to format the cell containing the formula as a date. If you don't, what you see may be the underlying serial number used by Excel to calculate dates.

If you want a macro that will actually convert dates in a selected range into the last day of the previous month, the following will do the trick.

Sub LastDayPreviousMonth()
    Dim rCell As Range

    For Each rCell In Selection
        If IsDate(rCell) And Not rCell.HasFormula Then
            rCell.Value = WorksheetFunction.EoMonth(rCell.Value, -1)
        End If
    Next rCell
End Sub

The macro steps through each cell in the selected range and checks to see if it contains a date and is not a formula. (In other words, if the date in a cell is the result of a formula, the formula is not changed.) The EOMONTH function is then used, as previously described, to calculate the desired date.

It should be mentioned that the macro approach will also convert textual dates. For instance, if a cell contains, as text, the date "6/15/14," then the macro will change it to 5/30/14. Once the adjusted date is stuffed back into the cell, it will show as a date/time serial number, not as text.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13304) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Extracting INCLUDEPICTURE File Names

If you use the INCLUDEPICTURE field to add images to your document, you may love the macro in this tip. It allows you to ...

Discover More

Using Print Preview

The Print Preview feature can be a great way to see how something will look on paper without actually using any paper. ...

Discover More

Losing Formatting

When you save a workbook, you expect Excel to remember the formatting you applied in the worksheets in that workbook. If ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Copying Dates a Year Into the Future

Need to copy a range of dates and update them to a different year? Here are a number of ways to accomplish this task with ...

Discover More

Every Second Tuesday

Need a way to enter dates from every second Tuesday (or some other regular interval)? Excel makes it easy, providing ...

Discover More

Returning Nothing If Two Values are Empty

Excel includes a large number of functions that can be used in evaluating the data in a worksheet. In this tip you learn ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

2018-08-01 11:07:11

David Bonin

I still prefer a formula like: = DATE( YEAR( TODAY()), MONTH(TODAY()), 0 )

I willingly stipulate that it's not the shortest equation possible.

I write code in a corporate environment. While there are lots of clever ways to do things in Excel, I often find it is wiser not to be too clever. Why? Because someone else will have to maintain or modify my code when I am no longer here. My employer is not paying me to inflict pain on the people that follow me.

Going a step further in maintainability, note that I add spaces in my formulas to make them more readable. Yes, it makes my files slightly larger. It also makes them far more readable -- especially the complex ones. Sometimes, I'll even add line breaks to split up formulas into logical chunks.

Afterall,wedon'twriteEnglishsentenceswitnospacesbetweenthewords.It'sfartoohardtoread! So why do it with Excel?


2018-08-01 09:54:58

David Bauer

"The first one works because of a quirk that "day 0" of the current month is always considered to be the last day of the previous month. Thus, if the date in cell A1 is 9/25/14 you end up subtracting 25 (the DAY value) from that day, giving a date of 9/0/14, or 8/31/14."

Love your site, but I'm uncomfortable with the quote above. It's not a quirk. Dates are represented internally as the number of days from 1/1/1900 (or 1/1/1904, depending on options settings). When you subtract the day of the month, you are reducing the internal number to the number that represents the end of the previous month, not the 0 day of the starting month.


2014-11-13 00:38:35

Shreepad S M Gandhi

@ Michael Avidan

Can well understand the reason for your advice. What you may not know is a response was already sent seperately to
'etanswers@tips.net' when I received the Tips.Net Comments newsletter. But it was not credited. No issues at all as this happened with me for the first time. Have communicated it to Allen Wyatt too. My post below here is just a Copy-Paste of the response sent.

I am sorry if this post irritates you. By the way, I have also been a fan of your “Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator.

Good day.


2014-11-10 09:34:59

CaroleJean

What would be some examples where this would be useful please?


2014-11-10 05:15:41

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Gašper Kamenšek,
Some people say: "The length does not matter".
Well, my opinion is "The shorter the better" (as long Excel is concerned).
The formula:
=DATE(YEAR(TODAY()),MONTH(TODAY()),0)
is almost as twice(!) longer than:
=EOMONTH(TODAY(),-1)
Therefore it is no reason to use it.
*** Again - this is my opinion ***
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)
ISRAEL


2014-11-10 05:11:41

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Shreepad S M Gandhi,
may I suggest you to read - ONCE MORE - the entire(!) article listed above !?
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)
ISRAEL



2014-11-10 01:36:50

Gašper Kamenšek

There's actually another way to do this and it's a great trick with the DATE function, and great know how. More here
http://excelunplugged.com/2014/10/28/last-day-of-previous-month-excel/


2014-11-09 22:11:37

Shreepad S M Gandhi

No need for a macro at least to get the last day of the previous month of a certain date. Use the formula =EOMONTH(Start_Date, Month). You may understand it better with an example.
Suppose A1 is you reference date. And you wish to have in cell B1, the last date of previous month w.r.t the date in A1.

In cell B1, type the formula =EOMONTH(A1,-1)

Now you type any date in cell A1 and press Enter. You will get the last date of the previous month of date in A1. If you change -1 to 1 you will get the last date of next month of date in A1 and so on.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.