How To Use the Current Date in Excel

Are you tired of constantly typing the date in your Excel sheet? We can help. Excel has numerous formulas that can make your job less tedious and your work less prone to error. Inserting the current date is one of them.

How To Use the Current Date in Excel

Whether you need to insert a static date or want a dynamic cell that will constantly update, you’ll find the solution below. Read on to learn how to use the current date in Excel.

How to Use the Current Date in Excel

There are several ways to insert the current date into an Excel sheet. Follow the instructions for each method below.

Insert a Static Date

Excel allows you to insert the current time and date into a cell, sparing you the trouble of checking the clock or calendar. The cell will be static, so it won’t change when you reopen your sheet or recalculate the cells. All you need to do is press a few keys.

Insert a Static Date on Windows

Insert the current date and time on Windows with the following combination:

  1. Open your Excel worksheet and select the cell where you want to insert the date.
    excel 1
  2. Press these buttons depending on what you want to insert:
    • For the current date, press Ctrl and “;” buttons simultaneously.
    excel 2 1
    • For the current time, press Ctrl + Shift and “;” at the same time.
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    • For both the current date and time in the same cell, press the Ctrl and “;” buttons, hit Space, and then use the Ctrl + Shift + ; combination.

Insert a Static Date on Mac

To insert the current date and time on a Mac, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the Excel sheet and click on the cell where you want to insert the data.
  2. Press the following key combinations:
    • Insert the current date by pressing your Control and “;” buttons simultaneously.
    Control 1
    • To insert the current time, hit Command and “;” at the same time.
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    • To insert both within the same cell, press the Control and “;” keys, add a space, and then press the Command and “;” keys.
    short key

Change the Date Format

The commands mentioned above will insert the date using the default format. Follow these instructions if you wish to display the current date in a different form.

  1. Right-click on the cell with the date you just inserted.
  2. Select “Format Cells…” from the drop-down menu.
  3. You’ll automatically be taken to the “Number” tab and “Date” category.
  4. Select a suitable format from the options in the right-side panel.
  5. Click on the “OK” button to apply the changes.

Use the TODAY and NOW Functions

If your document needs to display the current date every time the worksheet is opened or recalculated, you’re looking for the “TODAY” and “NOW” functions. You can also find these formulas under the “Date & Time” option of your Excel’s “Formulas” tab or enter them manually.

The “TODAY” and “NOW” functions are dynamic formulas that will always return the current date or time. They can also be adjusted with additional syntax if you need other kinds of date-related information to update constantly.

  1. Open your worksheet and select the cell to which you want to add the date.
  2. Type the following formula in the “fx” field:
    • “=TODAY()” for the current date.

    • “=NOW()” for the current date and time.
  3. Press Enter and the appropriate information will appear in the cell.
  4. Format the date and time by right-clicking the cell and selecting “Format Cells…”

Although the “TODAY” and “NOW” functions will update each time the worksheet is recalculated, you can adjust your recalculation settings. You can change these settings by opening “Options” and navigating to the “Formulas” section.

These formulas can be used for a variety of purposes besides simply displaying the current date and time. Here are a few examples of what you can do by adjusting them.

  • Keep an updated record of people’s ages by typing “=YEAR(TODAY())-” followed by the year that they were born.
  • Calculate deadlines with “=TODAY()+” the number of days.
  • Request the current day or month using “=DAY(TODAY())” or “=MONTH(TODAY())” respectively.

Inserting the Date the Easy Way

Let Excel keep track of the calendar instead of you. Implement the formulas mentioned above and forget about having to update the current date, let alone enter it manually.

Have you heard about these Excel functions before? Do you know about any other formulas that others might find helpful? Let us know in the comments section below.


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