Note: Excel has several built-in data validation rules for dates. This page explains how to create a your own validation rule based on a custom formula in case you want or need more control and flexibility.

To allow a user to enter only dates in a certain year, you can use data validation with a custom formula based on the YEAR function.

In the example shown, the data validation applied to C5:C7 is:


Generic formula



Data validation rules are triggered when a user adds or changes a cell value.

This custom validation formula simply checks the year of any date against a hard-coded year value using the YEAR function.

When a user enters a value, the YEAR function extracts and compares the year to 2016:


When the years match, the expression returns TRUE and validation succeeds. If the years don't match, or if the YEAR function is not able to extract a year, validation fails.

Date this year

To allow only dates in the current year, you can adjust the formula like this:


The TODAY function will return the current date on an on-going basis, so formula returns TRUE only when a date is in the current year.

Note: Cell references in data validation formulas are relative to the upper left cell in the range selected when the validation rule is defined, in this case C5.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.