Microsoft KB Archive/100822

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Mac Works: Using Dates Prior to January 1, 1904 in Works

PSS ID Number: Q100822 Article last modified on 10-22-1998

3.0 4.0


The information in this article applies to:
- Microsoft Works for the Macintosh, versions 3.0 and 4.0


In a Microsoft Works spreadsheet or database, a cell or field that is formatted with the Date option stores the data as a serial number. In the Macintosh environment, serialized dates begin as follows:

0 = January 1, 1904

If you enter a date earlier than this, it is serialized as something at the end of this century or after the year 2000. For example, 05/11/1903 becomes 05/11/2003.

Using negative numbers allow you to perform functions or do sorts in a larger range of dates.


Works allows you to format a negative number as a date. To record a date earlier than January 1, 1904, try the following steps in a spreadsheet. You may then transfer the serial number to a database.

  1. Format a cell as a date.

  2. Enter a month, day, and year in the cell (make sure it is in a year that is after 1904). Press RETURN.

  3. Format the cell again, and select Number from the Type group box, and General from the Appearance list box. Choose OK. This gives you the serial number representing that date.

  4. To obtain the serial number for the date, enter the following formula in another cell


    where X is the number derived in step 3 and Y is the difference between the year you want and the initial input date.

    If you want to put this date in the database, copy the cell and paste the serial number into a database record.

  5. Format the cell again and select Date from the Type group box. Choose OK.

  6. Due to rounding, you may need to add 1 or subtract 1 from the above formula if it doesn’t give you the exact date you want.

KBCategory: kbother KBSubcategory: macworkskb

Additional reference words: 3.00 mac mwksdb mwksss mwksmisc prior before to nnn 4.00 ====================================================================== Version : 3.0 4.0 Platform : MACINTOSH Issue type : kbinfo ============================================================================= Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1998.