Insert the current date and time in a cell

Let's say that you want to easily enter the current date and time while making a time log of activities. Or perhaps you want to display the current date and time automatically in a cell every time formulas are recalculated. There are several ways to insert the current date and time in a cell.

Insert a static date or time into an Excel cell

A static value in a worksheet is one that doesn’t change when the worksheet is recalculated or opened. When you press a key combination such as Ctrl+; to insert the current date in a cell, Excel “takes a snapshot” of the current date and then inserts the date in the cell. Because that cell’s value doesn’t change, it’s considered static.

  1. On a worksheet, select the cell into which you want to insert the current date or time.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To insert the current date, press Ctrl+; (semi-colon).

    • (Windows) To insert the current time, press Ctrl+Shift+; (semi-colon).

    • (Mac) To insert the current time, press COMMAND + ; (semi-colon).

    • (Windows) To insert the current date and time, press Ctrl+; (semi-colon), then press Space, and then press Ctrl+Shift+; (semi-colon).

    • (Mac) To insert the current date and time, press Ctrl+; (semi-colon), then press Space, and then press COMMAND + ; (semi-colon).

Insert a date or time whose value is updated

A date or time that updates when the worksheet is recalculated or the workbook is opened is considered “dynamic” instead of static. In a worksheet, the most common way to return a dynamic date or time in a cell is by using a worksheet function.

To insert the current date or time so that it is updatable, use the TODAY and NOW functions, as shown in the following example. For more information about how to use these functions, see TODAY function and NOW function.

Example

Formula

Description (Result)

=TODAY()

Current date (varies)

=NOW()

Current date and time (varies)

  1. Select the text in the table shown above, and then press Ctrl+C.

  2. In the blank worksheet, click once in cell A1, and then press Ctrl+V. If you are working in Excel Online, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.

    Important:  For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press Ctrl+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

Note: The results of the TODAY and NOW functions change only when the worksheet is calculated or when a macro that contains the function is run. Cells that contain these functions are not updated continuously. The date and time that are used are taken from the computer's system clock.

Change the date or time format

To change the date or time format, right-click on a cell, and select Format Cells. Then, on the Format Cells dialog box, in the Number tab, under Category, click Date or Time and in the Type list, select a type, and click OK.

See Also

Video: Insert the current date in an Excel worksheet

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