It’s often useful to include the date in your spreadsheets. But if you manually type a date, it won’t update when you open your file again. Fortunately, Excel has a function to help with this. Let’s learn how to use the TODAY function in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use the TODAY Function in Excel
Type in a date, and you’re good for that day. But when you reopen your spreadsheet in a week, the same date you typed in will still be showing. In some cases, this is fine. But if you want a continually-updating date that refreshes when you reopen your workbook, you need to use Excel’s TODAY function.
This is a powerful tool, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Imagine that you want users to always see the current date in a certain cell. Click into it, and then type an = sign. That tells Excel that you’ll be typing in a formula. Then, type TODAY.
Your formula reads:
There’s one additional step that you’ll need to take. Ending the formula here results in an error. If you want the current date to appear in the cell, type (). Your full TODAY formula reads:
Hit Enter, and you’ll see the date appear. If you reopen the worksheet tomorrow, next week, or next year, you’ll see that date, not the date that currently shows.
You can also add more to your formula. Let’s say that you also want to see the current date, plus 30 days. Simply change your formula to:
Want to see five days earlier? Just use:
As you can see, the TODAY function lets you have real-time dates inside your spreadsheets. It’s quick and easy to add, and helps ensure your files – and users of your files – stay up to date.