Filtering With Dates In The QUERY Function

Filtering with dates in the Query function in Google Sheets can be tricky.

In a nutshell, the problem occurs because dates in Google Sheets are actually stored as serial numbers, but the Query function requires a date as a string literal in the format yyyy-mm-dd, otherwise it can’t perform the comparison filter.

This post explores this issue in more detail and shows you how to filter with dates correctly in your Query formulas.

The Problem with Dates in the QUERY Function

Suppose you have a dataset of Space Shuttle launches from the first launch in 1981 through to the final launch in 2011. You want to filter the data to look only at the subset from the year 2000 onwards.

Query function with date filter

To begin, you might try the following syntax:

=QUERY(Data!$A$1:$H$136,"select C, B where B > '1/1/2000'",1)

Unfortunately, the output of such a query is blank:

Incorrect dates in the Query formula

If instead we remove the single quotes from around the date and try again, we get a #VALUE! error because the Query formula can’t perform the comparison:

Incorrect dates in the Query function

Alas, what are we to do!

Neither of these “standard” formats work, because the dates are not in the correct format for the Query function.

Correct Syntax for Dates in the QUERY Function

Per the Query Language documentation, we need to include the date keyword and ensure that the date is in the format yyyy-mm-dd to use a date as a filter in the WHERE clause of our Query function.

Putting aside the Query function for a moment, let’s consider that "select..." string.

The new syntax we want will look like this:

date_column > date '2000-01-01'

Our challenge is to create a text formula to create this syntax for us, inside our query function.

Dealing with the text function first, starting with our required date of 1/1/2000 and working outwards:

First, we convert it to a serial number format with the DATEVALUE() wrapper:


The output of this formula is a number:


Then the TEXT() function converts it to the required format for the Query formula by specifying a format of "yyyy-mm-dd":


The output of this formula is a date in the desired format:


Next we add single quotes around the new date format, with the "'" syntax. Finally, we insert the word date into the query string, to give:

="select C, B where B > date '"&TEXT(DATEVALUE("1/1/2000"),"yyyy-mm-dd")&"'"

which gives or desired output:

select C, B where B > date '2000-01-01'

That’s the syntax challenge done!

We can now plop that string into the middle argument of our Query function as per usual, and it’ll do the trick for us.

In this case, I was using a table of Space Shuttle mission data from Wikipedia, which contains a column of launch dates.

I used the IMPORTHTML() function to import that table into my Google Sheet, into a tab called Data in the range A1:H136. There’s a link to this dataset and worksheet at the end of the post.

This Query formula returns all of the Space Shuttle missions after 1 January 2000:

=QUERY(Data!$A$1:$H$136,"select C, B where B > date '"&TEXT(DATEVALUE("1/1/2000"),"yyyy-mm-dd")&"'",1)

The output of our formula is now returning the correct, filtered data:

Correct syntax to use dates in the query function

Referencing a Date in a Cell

The formula is actually simpler in this case, as we don’t need the DATEVALUE function. Assuming we have a date in cell A1 that we want to use in our filter, then the formula becomes:

=QUERY(Data!$A$1:$H$136,"select C, B where B > date '"&TEXT(A1,"yyyy-mm-dd")&"'",1)

Example Showing Filter Between Two Dates

Again, it’s relatively simple to extend our formula by adding a second date clause after the AND keyword:

=QUERY(Data!$A$1:$H$136,"select C, B where B >= date '"&TEXT(A1,"yyyy-mm-dd")&"' and B <= date '"&TEXT(B1,"yyyy-mm-dd")&"'",1)

Today’s Date as a Filter

Substitute the TODAY() function into our formula:

=QUERY(Data!$A$1:$H$136,"select C, B where B > date '"&TEXT(TODAY(),"yyyy-mm-dd")&"'",1)


đź”— Click here to open a view-only copy >>

Feel free to make a copy: File > Make a copy…

If you can’t access the template, it might be because of your organization’s Google Workspace settings.

In this case, right-click the link to open it in an Incognito window to view it.

When Your Formula Doesn’t Work: Formula Parse Errors in Google Sheets

Whether you’re just starting out with Google Sheets or are a seasoned pro, sooner or later one of your formulas will give you a formula parse error message rather than the result you want.

It can be frustrating, especially if it’s a longer formula where the formula parse error may not be obvious.

In this post, I’ll explain what a Google Sheets formula parse error is, how to identify what’s causing the problem, and how to fix it.

Continue reading When Your Formula Doesn’t Work: Formula Parse Errors in Google Sheets

How To Apply Conditional Formatting Across An Entire Row In Google Sheets

Conditional formatting is a super useful technique for formatting cells in your Google Sheets based on whether they meet certain conditions.

In this post, you’ll learn how to apply conditional formatting across an entire row of data in Google Sheets.

For example, if the continent is “Africa” in column C, you can apply the background formatting to the entire row (as shown by 1 and 2):

Conditional formatting across an entire row

A template with all these examples is available at the end of this post.

Continue reading How To Apply Conditional Formatting Across An Entire Row In Google Sheets

Build Numbered Lists With The Amazing SEQUENCE Function

The SEQUENCE function is a useful function in Google Sheets. It’s a powerful way to generate numbered lists.

SEQUENCE Function Syntax

=SEQUENCE(rows, columns, start, step)

As arguments for the SEQUENCE function, you specify 1) the number of rows, 2) the number of columns, 3) a start value, and 4) a step size.

Arguments 2, 3, and 4 are optional. However, if you want to set them you need to include the previous ones (e.g. if you want to set a step size in argument 4, then you need to set 1, 2, and 3 as well).

Keep this order in mind as you look through the examples below and you’ll soon understand how the function works.

1. Ascending list of numbers



Continue reading Build Numbered Lists With The Amazing SEQUENCE Function

How To Create QR Codes in Google Sheets Using Formulas

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create QR Codes in Google Sheets using formulas. And how to transfer them to Google Docs and Google Slides using Apps Script.

A QR code is a type of matrix barcode.

Barcodes and QR codes are optical labels that are machine-readable and link to information about items or products.

They’re ubiquitous today. You see them everywhere, from restaurant menus to packaging labels.

In this post, we’ll look at how to create fully-functional QR codes in Google Sheets.

QR Codes In Google Sheets
Continue reading How To Create QR Codes in Google Sheets Using Formulas