I have two cells in OpenOffice Calc (A1 and B1). In cell A1, I have "2014/01/01" and in cell B1, I have "2014/06/03". I want to find the minimum/smallest of the values in A1 and B1. I actually have hundreds of values in column A and column B and I want to populate column C with the smallest of the two dates in column A and B.

I tried entering the following into column C1:


which I thought would produce "2014/01/01", but instead it initially produced "0". I then tried right-clicking on cell C1 and I did format cell and changed the format to "Date" which then produced "12/30/99" which is also incorrect.

I've tried googling on this question, but I haven't been able to figure out why the MIN function doesn't work with dates. Is there a different open office function that I should be using to find the smallest of two dates? Or something wrong with my MIN expression?

  • I don't have OpenOffice, but I tried this in LibreOffice Calc, which is a descendent. It looks like the issue might be that your dates are being interpreted as text. When I entered the dates as you show them, they were automatically reformatted to 2014-01-01 and 2014-06-03, and the min function worked. – fixer1234 Oct 15 '14 at 16:40
  • @fixer1234, the date format was the problem, when I changed the input date format from YYYY/MM/DD to MM/dd/YYYY it fixed the problem. – officeUser Oct 15 '14 at 16:41
  • For the benefit of others with the same problem, could you put your solution in the form of an answer? (You are allowed to answer your own question.) – fixer1234 Oct 15 '14 at 16:45

You can use function SMALL (documentation).


This return first/oldest (1 as second parameter in brackets) date in array.

  • when I pasted your small function into openoffice calc, it returned "#VALUE!" – officeUser Oct 15 '14 at 16:02
  • And you have set right date format? I dont have OpenOffice, but Office and for me it's working and your date format convert to my. Check format of columns. – zorbon.cz Oct 15 '14 at 16:08

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