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How to Display the Current Time in Excel

Excel can display the current time using the NOW function. This step by step tutorial will assist all levels of Excel users in calculating a time difference in different formats.

Figure 1. Final result

Syntax of the NOW formula

=NOW()

The NOW function has no parameters and returns the current time and date. To get only the time we will need to format the cell accordingly.

Setting up Our Data for Displaying the Current Time

Our table consists of 2 columns: “Current Time” (column B) and “Format ” (column C). In column B, we want to get a current time, while in column C we have a format of the appropriate time.

Figure 2. Data that we will use in the current time displaying

Displaying the Current Time

In our example, we want to display the current time in the cell B3 in format h:mm:ss AM/PM. Before applying the formula, we must set the format of the resulting cell as a time. To do this, we need to press Ctrl+1, choose “Custom” category and enter the format of the time – h:mm:ss AM/PM.

Figure 3. Formatting the cells for displaying the current time

Formula:

=NOW()

Setting the cell format like this, we will get the current time in hours, minutes and seconds and AM/PM.

Similarly, in the cell B4, we want to get the current time in hours and minutes AM/PM, while in the cells B5 and B6 we at to get the current time in formats h:mm:ss and h:mm without AM/PM.

To get the current time using the NOW formula, we need to follow these steps:

  • Select cell B3 and click on it
  • Press Ctrl+1
  • Choose “Custom” category and enter the format of the time – h:mm:ss AM/PM
  • Insert the formula: =NOW()
  • Press enter

  • Select cell B4 and click on it
  • Press Ctrl+1
  • Choose “Custom” category and enter the format of the time – h:mm AM/PM
  • Insert the formula: =NOW()
  • Press enter

  • Select cell B5 and click on it
  • Press Ctrl+1
  • Choose “Custom” category and enter the format of the time – h:mm:ss
  • Insert the formula: =NOW()
  • Press enter

  • Select cell B6 and click on it
  • Press Ctrl+1
  • Choose “Custom” category and enter the format of the time – h:mm
  • Insert the formula: =NOW()
  • Press enter

Figure 4. Displaying the current time in different formats using the NOW formula

Most of the time, the problem you will need to solve will be more complex than a simple application of a formula or function. If you want to save hours of research and frustration, try our live Excelchat service! Our Excel Experts are available 24/7 to answer any Excel question you may have. We guarantee a connection within 30 seconds and a customized solution within 20 minutes.

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