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This seems like an obvious question.

I have a date column, and I want to create a formula to increase it by one month for each column.

10/2013, 11/2013, 12/2013, 1/2014, 2/2014, ...

How do you add one month to a date?

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  • edate returns the date that is the specified number of months after or before the specified date.
  • First argument of edate :start date.
  • Second argument of edate : number of month. If negative, edate calculates the date before.
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would never have guessed by the name! thanks :-) – Tim Abell Jan 14 '15 at 23:01
documentation – Tim Abell Jan 14 '15 at 23:02
watch out for problems where there's no equivalent day of the month in the new month. – Tim Abell Feb 20 '15 at 10:42

The currently favored answer will skip short months that follow long ones

Set A1=2014-01-31 Then the result using =DATE(YEAR(A1), MONTH(A1)+1, DAY(A1)) will be 2014-03-03, thus skipping February.

The EDATE approach suggested above loses days

Short months cause EDATE to drop days for successive months. E.g. =EDATE(DATE(2014,1,31),1) does produce 2014-02-28, but applying it again results in 2014-03-28, which is not the last day in March.

A solution that does work: increment months with the day set to zero

Set the day to zero, and increment months, while being one month ahead. E.g. To start in January use DATE(2014,2,0) => 2014-01-31 then DATE(2014,3,0) => 2014-02-28, then DATE(2014,4,0) -> 2014-03-31 as one would expect by logically following the last day of each month.

Other approaches

Adjustments can be made if you want the last working day in the month, or 30 day increments while not skipping months, etc. Depends on the objective.

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edate worked for me without the problem you mention (Version: – Tim Abell Jan 14 '15 at 23:01
Tim to see edate fail, place in cell C4 =Date(2014,01,31) and place in C7 =EDATE(C4,1) and it will correctly show 2014-02-28. however now place in cell C8 =EDATE(C7,1) and it will give the wrong value, 2014-03-28 which is not the last day of March. Tim are you seeing the last day of March on this second step? (Version - updated version on this Debian distro) – user244488 Feb 20 '15 at 7:08
Ah, I see what you mean now. Thanks for the clear example. I forget what I was doing now but I think I didn't hit that edge case and hadn't followed the subtlety of what you'd explained. Great post. – Tim Abell Feb 20 '15 at 10:40
up vote 4 down vote accepted

As given in reference: Date Arithmetic, this adds one to the month:

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Beware that if you start on a day that has no equivalent: e.g. 31st Aug + 1 month is calculated as 1st Oct because there is no 31st Sep. – Tim Abell Feb 20 '15 at 10:35

I think you may need to use labels as dates are stored just as numbers which are then displayed in a format you choose. To add a month you'll need a complex calculation to determine how many days to take you to the next month. Hope I'm wrong and someone has an answer.

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I also thought about a wrangling together a complicated algorithm of adding 31 days to the date, then going back to the first of the month. Both ways seem overly difficult. – trimbletodd Jul 9 '13 at 18:42
There may be some ideas on this site that could help you. – BrianA Jul 10 '13 at 15:35
Great reference. Looks like it works. – trimbletodd Jul 10 '13 at 19:10

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