Program Excel To Alert You To A Deadline

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. One of my tasks is to keep track of due dates for certain financial statements in Excel, and since the dates are embedded in the statements, I’d like to program Excel to alert me when a deadline is approaching. Do you have any suggestions?

A. There are several ways to do that, but by far the easiest is to use the IF and TODAY functions. Here’s how.

Assume the due date is in cell A3 and you want an alert five days in advance. In column B add this formula:

=IF(A3<(TODAY()+5),”ALERT: DUE DATE”,””)

The formula checks A3, and if the current date is at least five days away, it will display the alert. To make it more prominent, consider coloring the alert cell red (see screenshot below).

To add a little pizzazz to the worksheet, you can program Excel to post the current date above the two columns. And so it’s clear the posted date is today’s date, and not some other due date, use a little Excel trick to combine both the current date and a brief text description, such as “Today is.” To do that, we’ll use a simple string formula:

=“Today is” & TEXT(NOW(),”dddd, mmm dd, yyyy”)

The final product looks like this:

 

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