Excel NOW Function

Formula

=NOW()

Summary

The Excel NOW function is designed to return the current date and time in a cell. This date and time are usually updated automatically continuously whenever the worksheet opened or changed. The Excel NOW function requires no parameters or arguments. Using the number format menu, you can format any value returned by the Excel NOW function either as a date only or as a date with time.

Purpose of the Excel NOW Function 

Used to retrieve the current time and date

Return Value for the Excel NOW Function

The Excel NOW function usually returns a serial number that represents the current time and date in Excel.

Example

Figure 1: Example showing how the Excel NOW function can be used to automatically apply the current date in a cell

The formula used here is:

=NOW()

This returns the current date in the active cell B5

Usage Notes regarding the Excel NOW Function

  1. The Excel NOW function requires no parameters but only takes just an empty parenthesis.
  2. Date and time values returned by the Excel NOW function is designed to continually be updated every time the worksheet is opened or refreshed (e.g., anytime a value is changed or entered).
  3. The F9 key can be used to force the worksheet to recalculate and update the value.
  4. For a static time that will not be updated continuously, the keyboard shortcut function Ctrl+Shift+ can be used.
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