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GuidesHow to add today's date in Microsoft Excel

How to add today’s date in Microsoft Excel

It depends on how exactly you want to add dates in Excel, as it has several ways of solution. For example, you can enter today’s date in some reports or invoices. You may also want to insert a date in Excel that will be updated automatically and always display the current date and time. It is also possible to auto-fill weekdays or input random dates in your worksheet.

The information below will give you an opportunity to learn a few dates entering techniques.

How to enter a date in Excel

There is a big range of ways how you can enter a date in an Excel cell, for instance, 1/1/2016, or 1-Jan-2016, or 1-Jan, or January 1, 2016. Microsoft’s system will understand after you enter that, that you are entering a date and automatically applies the date format to that cell. Quite often, Excel formats the newly inserted date according to your Windows default date settings, but sometimes it may leave it exactly as you typed.

Sometimes, Excel fails to recognize your input as a date and you see it left-justified in a cell, in this case, you should try to insert a date in a different format that is close to your default short or long date formats. These formats will be marked with an asterisk (*) in the Format Cell dialog window and, by doing this, you can quickly access them on the Excel ribbon (Home tab > Number group).

Those actions would give you the ability to easily change the date format later using the Format Cells dialog. To open this dialog, you should press Ctrl + 1shortcut.

Take a note, it may happen that a date you’ve entered displays as a number of pound signs (#####) in a cell, often it means that the cell is too narrow to fit the entire date. The solution is to double-click the right border of the column in order to auto-fit the date or drag the right border to set the desired column width.

How to insert today’s date and current time in Excel

Microsoft Excel gives its users an opportunity to enter the current date and time either as a static or dynamic value.

How to enter today date in Excel (as a timestamp) using the shortcuts

Before entering a date, you should understand what “timestep” is. Timestamping means entering a “static date” that won’t be changed with the course of time or when the spreadsheet would be recalculated.

So, to enter the current date and/or time as a static value that won’t automatically update the next day, you follow the tips below:

  • Ctrl + ; shortcut will the today’s date in a cell.
  • Ctrl + Shift + ; shortcut inserts the current time.
  • In order to enter the current date and time, press Ctrl + ; then press the Space key, and then Ctrl + Shift + ;.

How to enter an automatically updatable today’s date and current time

If you want to input today’s date in Excel that will always stay up to date, you should use one of the Excel date functions which are displayed below:

  • =TODAY() – inserts the today date in a cell.
  • =NOW() – inserts the today date and current time in a cell.

Unlike Excel date shortcuts, the TODAY and NOW functions will always return today’s date and current time.

While using the Excel date functions, you shouldn’t forget that:

  • The returned date and time won’t refresh continuously, they would be updated only after the spreadsheet will be re-opened or re-calculated, or when a macro containing the function will be run.
  • The functions take the current date and time from your computer’s system clock.

Hope, those tips will help to understand Excel better.

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