Categories: Microsoft 365

Read dates from Excel with Power Automate

To read dates from Excel files can be tricky, as Excel only give you the number of days since 1 January 1900.

Dates in Excel

I’ve created myself an Excel table with some dates in it. i will use this example Excel file during the rest of my post.

Read dates from Excel

In general when I read Excel files from SharePoint or OneDrive I would use Microsoft Graph, but for this example I will use the out of the box actions. in both cases Excel will return numbers as we will shortly see.

Using the List rows present in a table action I’m getting all the rows from my excel file. I’m then using a compose action to display the results. this isn’t 100% needed, but it makes debugging just that little bit easier.

Running the above two steps, now gives me tat number that I have been talking about. The 28 October 2020 is day 44132 as you can see below.

Setting a base date

I’m going to set my base date to 2020-10-28, but really you could set this to any date.

Calculating the dates

Now to calculate each date from that number that Excel gives me, I’m using the following steps.

The first step is a Compose action that contains the day from the row in my excel.

In the second compose I’m calculating the number of days since my base day using the following expression, using the sub function.

sub(int(outputs('Date_from_Excel')),
    int(outputs('Base_day_2020_10_28'))
)

Now that we know the number of days since the base date we can calculate the day that we are interested in.

And when we run our flow we will now get the right date returned.

Dates before 1900

Ok, so what happens to dates before 1900.

Well, Excel didn’t exist in 1900.

So, what else would you expect than the actual date being returned?

Sometimes, I just wish that all dates were before 1900.

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Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

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