The book can be overkill for such just solving your issues; but you stated that".. dates is always a pain ... in any language.."
Most computational language systems that I am aware of, when relating to date time, use a similar method of fixing the date and time to a number.
A properly formatted date and/or time cell (or column) in Excel is really a serialized date time in the back ground. So if you are always going to be importing date columns in Excel you may choose to import the serialized datetime.
Hans -----Original Message----- From: Francisco Gutierrez [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 2:01 AM Subject: hold question
Manipulating and importing/exporting dates is always a pain in the neck, in any of the languages I am aware of. Mathematica has functions to work around many of these issues, and I was actually able to complete the task I was involved in, but even then there is an issue I obviously do not understand.
Say I have this date in an Excel sheet: 01/08/2007. I import in into Mathematica. I want to prevent it from becoming an arithmetical expression, so I sorround it by Unevaluated, HoldAll, and other hold-like devices, but I do not obtain the desired result. The date becomes a division. For example, the output of HoldComplete[2+2] is HoldComplete[2+2] , but instead the output of HoldComplete[ 01/08/2007] is HoldComplete[1/(8x 2007)].