Today's date in Excel
Working with dates is a key task in Excel. This tutorial will show you a few ways to get the current date in Excel 2003, Excel 2007 and Excel 2010.
The NOW() Function
One way to get the date is using the function
=NOW(), which puts the current date and time in the cell as follows (it will show whatever the date and time is when you run it yourself):
You can then format the cell (right click -> Format Cell, or press Ctrl+1 on a Windows PC) to display it as you like, for example as the date in the format dd/mm/yyyy.
Inserting the date into formulas or text fields
Something that can be useful to insert the current date into formulas or text fields. You can do this by typing a formula in the usual way, starting with an equals sign, and using the concatenation operator,
&, which basically joins bits of text and numbers together. Remember to put any text in quotation marks. For example,
="Output [" & 30 & "]" would give you a cell which says
Output  - not a very exciting example but you get the idea.
On our first try, the
NOW() function isn’t very useful for this, for example, the formula
="Date: " & NOW() gives the following:
Fortunately, Excel offers another function,
TEXT() which allows you to format the date in a nicer way. For example, you can use
=TEXT(NOW(), "dd/mm/yyyy") to get the current date as
20/09/2019. Other formats work too, such as
dd mmm yyyy which would show
20 Sep 2012, or just
10:35 (i.e. hours and minutes).
In this case, we want to combine the
NOW() functions with any other text you want to appear in the cell:
="Date: " & TEXT(NOW(), "dd/mm/yyyy") which gives the output shown below:
One downside to the
NOW() function is that it always displays the current date. So in the example above, if you opened the spreadsheet the following day, it would show the date as
21/09/2012 (the current date). This may or may not be what you want.
One useful keyboard shortcut you can use is to press
CTRL+; (hold CTRL and press the semicolon key) which inserts the current date (e.g. dd/mm/yyyy format, or your default format) into the currently selected cell. Or if you’re currently typing something into a cell, it will insert the date into what you’ve already written.
Another shortcut is
CTRL+SHIFT+; (hold both CTRL and Shift, then press the semicolon key). This inserts the current time in hh:mm format. These shortcuts “hard-code” the dates, so they won’t change the next day if you re-open the spreadsheet.
The following table shows the various ways to insert the date, and the output which you’ll see in Excel.