NOW function

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the NOW function in Microsoft Excel. Find links to more information about working with dates and times in the See Also section.


Returns the serial number of the current date and time. If the cell format was General before the function was entered, Excel changes the cell format so that it matches the date and time format of your regional settings. You can change the date and time format for the cell by using the commands in the Number group of the Home tab on the Ribbon.

The NOW function is useful when you need to display the current date and time on a worksheet or calculate a value based on the current date and time, and have that value updated each time you open the worksheet.

Note: If the NOW function does not update cell values when you expect it to, you might need to change settings that control when the workbook or worksheet recalculates. These settings can be changed in Control Panel for the Excel desktop application.



The NOW function syntax has no arguments.


  • Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so that they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2008 is serial number 39448 because it is 39,447 days after January 1, 1900.

  • Numbers to the right of the decimal point in the serial number represent the time; numbers to the left represent the date. For example, the serial number 0.5 represents the time 12:00 noon.

  • The results of the NOW function change only when the worksheet is calculated or when a macro that contains the function is run. It is not updated continuously.


Copy the example data in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. For formulas to show results, select them, press F2, and then press Enter. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.





Returns the current date and time.

11/6/2011 19:03


Returns the date and time 12 hours ago (-0.5 days ago).

11/6/2011 7:03


Returns the date and time 7 days in the future.

11/13/2011 19:03


Returns the date and time 2 days and 6 hours ago (-2.25 days ago).

11/4/2011 13:03

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