Ever wanted to insert the date and time in your spreadsheet? There’s a function for that! Let’ s learn how to use the NOW function in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use the NOW Function in Excel (Current Details)
Sometimes, it’s useful to have the current date and time included on your Excel spreadsheets. You could always type this manually. However, doing that won’t update itself. Any text you input will remain static. If you want the date and time to update, you should use Excel’s NOW function.
Consider an empty cell where you want the date and time. You can insert the NOW function into it. Click into the cell, and type an = sign. This tells Excel that you’re beginning to type a formula. Then, type NOW().
Your full formula reads:
Hit Enter on your keyboard, and you’ll see the current date and time appear in your spreadsheet in the format:
From here, you have two ways of updating the time. If you close out of your workbook and reopen it, the details will refresh automatically. But if you’re continuing to work in the file, you won’t see the automatic update. To refresh, simply press F9 on your keyboard, and the date and time will update when applicable.
How to Use the NOW Function in Excel (Past and Future)
Suppose now that you want to list the date and time ten days ago, or five days in the future. Since NOW is a formula, you can easily do this.
To display the date and time ten days ago, use the formula:
Similarly, to display the date and time five days in the future, use the formula:
Again, keep in mind that these aren’t static blocks of text. Refreshing with F9, or reopening your file, will result in the times and dates updating.
The NOW function is a quick and easy way to work with dates and times in Excel.