NOW Function in Excel

Display the current time and date

About the NOW function in Excel

The NOW function in Excel is a formula that displays the current date and time.  It is automatically refreshed anytime the workbook is opened or a change is made.  It can also be manually refreshed by pressing F9.  To learn more, launch our free Excel crash course now!

 

Formula for the NOW function in Excel

Below is the formula for the now function in Excel:

=NOW()

Please note, you must include the parentheses and do not type anything between them.

 

Example of the NOW function

Here is a screenshot of the Now function in Excel at the current time and date.

 

now function in excel example

 

As you see in the example above, the formula is simply equal to =NOW() and the date, as well as the time, are automatically displayed in the cell.

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Today Function

The TODAY function is similar to the NOW function in that it displays the current date, but it doesn’t include the time.

 

 

 

Why use the NOW function in Excel?

This function can be very useful for spreadsheets that require printing, and where a time stamp on that printout would be helpful.

Another reason would be to clock in and clock out.  If you setup a table, you can copy and paste as values the time when you start, and then copy and paste as values the time when you stop.  This way, you can easily keep track of the exact time.

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How to refresh the formula

The time and date displayed by the formula will automatically update when any of the following things happen:

  • Any cell in the worksheet is changed
  • A new number or formula is entered in any cell
  • F9 is pressed

The NOW function will not update for any other reason, so be careful when you’re looking at the time to make sure you press F9 or change a cell to refresh the values.

 

How to make the time static

If you have already used the NOW() function and you want to make it static, follow the steps below:

  1. Press F9 to make sure it’s updated
  2. Copy the current time (Ctrl + C)
  3. Paste special as values (Alt, E, S, V)

 

If you have not used the NOW function yet and you want to insert just the time (and have it be static), follow the keyboard shortcut below:

  1. Ctrl + Shift + :

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More Excel resources

We hope this has been a helpful tutorial on how to use the NOW function in Excel.  To keep learning and developing your Excel skills, we recommend these additional resources: