Pushing Dates Into Last Month

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 5, 2021)


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:


The first one works because "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 9/25/21 you end up subtracting 25 (the DAY value) from that day, giving a date of 9/0/21, or 8/31/21.

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 "6/15/21," then the macro will change it to 5/30/21. Once the adjusted date is stuffed back into the cell, it will show as a date/time serial number, not as text.


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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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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What is six minus 3?

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


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:
is almost as twice(!) longer than:
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)

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)

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

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.

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