Count Days Between Dates in Google Sheets

Tutorial: How to Use the NETWORKDAYS Function

A pocket watch on top of a calendar.

Marco Marchi / Getty Images

Use the NETWORKDAYS function in Google Sheets to calculate the number of whole business days between specified start and end dates. With this function, weekend days (Saturday and Sunday) are automatically removed from the total. Specific days, such as statutory holidays, can be omitted, too.

NETWORKDAYS Function Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, and arguments.

The syntax for the NETWORKDAYS function is NETWORKDAYS(start_date, end_date, [holidays]).

The arguments are:

  • Start_date — the start date of the chosen period (required)
  • End_date — the end date of the chosen period (required)
  • Holidays — one or more additional dates that are excluded from the total number of working days (optional)

Use date values, serial numbers, or the cell reference to the location of this data in the worksheet for both date arguments.

Holiday dates can be date values entered directly into the formula or the cell references to the location of the data in the worksheet.

Because NETWORKDAYS does not automatically convert data to date formats, date values entered directly into the function for all three arguments should be entered using the DATE or DATEVALUE functions to avoid calculation errors.

  1. Select the cell where you'd like the result to be displayed.

    Google Sheets NETWORKDAYS Function screenshot
    Ted French/Lifewire
  2. Enter the formula and appropriate parameters. For example, to calculate the workdays between the date in cells A3 and A4, enter =NETWORKDAYS(A3,A4). This tells Sheets to calculate the workdays between 7/11/2016 and 11/4/2016.

  3. To calculate workdays without using cell references, enter =NETWORKDAYS(date,date) — for example, =NETWORKDAYS(7/11/16,11/4/2016).

The #VALUE! error value is returned if any argument contains an invalid date.

The Math Behind the Function

Google Sheets processes its calculation in two steps. First, it assesses the straightforward count of working days between the two stipulated dates. 

After that, it removes every date specified in the holidays argument, if the date occurred on a weekday. For example, if the time period included two holidays (e.g., Memorial Day and Independence Day, in the United States), and those days both occur on a weekday, then the original count between dates is reduced by two, and the answer is displayed in the spreadsheet.