Insert Current Date into a Cell in Excel

In this article, we’ll learn how we can return current date into a cell in Microsoft Excel.

To return current date, we use TODAY function. In Excel, TODAY function helps to return the serial number of the current date. And, it automatically refreshes the date whenever the worksheet recalculates. TODAY function is one of easy yet powerful functions in excel. You can use this function in various forms.

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Let’s take examples to understand the uses of TODAY function.

1st Example:-

In this example, we simply type TODAY function and will see what happens when we enter TODAY function.

  • Enter the function in any cell in your Excel sheet
  • =TODAY(), Press Enter

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The function has returned today’s date as per current system date. However, if you change the system date, the function would recalculate and would return the new date accordingly.

Note:- The function will calculate each time, when a cell value is entered or changed in the worksheet. And, if you have a large set of data, there are high chances that it may slow down your work as well.

2nd Example:-

In this example, we’ll learn how to calculate number of days passed in the year 2015.

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Follow the steps given below:-

  • Enter the function in cell B9
  • =TODAY()-A9
  • Press Enter

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Function returns date value instead of returning an integer that’s because it is automatically formatted in date format. So, when you change the format to general or number, it would return 306 as answer.

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3rd Example:-

In this example, we’ll add 14 days in today’s date.

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Follow the steps below given:-

  • Enter the function in cell B10
  • =TODAY()+A10
  • Press Enter

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Function returns the date after 2 weeks from today’s date which is 17th Nov in this case.

4th Example:-

In this example, we’ll learn how to format the current date to display only present day, month and year.

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Follow the steps given below:-

  • Enter the function in cell B11
  • =TODAY(), Press Enter

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The function has returned 11/3/2015.

To get the day number we will format cell:-

  • Press Ctrl+1 to open Format cells dialog box
  • Go to Number > Custom
  • Type “dd” in Type box

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  • Click on OK

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  • Now copy and paste same formula in cell B12 and B13
  • Apply same formatting, for month type “mmm” in type box and for year type “yyyy”

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Apart from the given examples, this function is also useful in case you want to display the current date somewhere in your reports on worksheet, regardless of when you open the report.

So, this is how TODAY function works and can be used in different ways in Excel.

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Video: How to use TODAY function in Microsoft Excel

Click on the video link for quick reference to the use of TODAY function. Subscribe to our new channel and keep learning with us!


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  1. "Hi John,

    I have seen this done many times, but it is extremely annoying to anyone else using that computer if they don't want that file, or even if the normal user doesn't.

    My suggestion to colleagues who want this, is that they set up a shortcut immediately beside their normal Excel shortcut (within the Start Menu or on their Desktop normally), that actually refers to the file that you want to open up with normally.

    That way, when they click on that shortcut, the workbook opens automatically with Excel without inconveniencing themselves or others who don't want it.

    Hope that works for you.


  2. But then I have to press the shift key and = to get a + and maybe this only works with a numeric key pad. But then the date will probably be in mm/dd/yy format for the first 12 days of the month and then in dd/mm/yy for the rest of the month, so not much use.

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