The value returned by the NOW function is a standard Excel date, including a fractional value for time. To display the result as a date, apply a date number format. Optionally customize the number format to include the time. If you want the current date without a time value, use the TODAY function.


The examples below show how the NOW function can be used in various ways:

Static date and time

If you need a static date and time that won’t change,  you can use the following shortcuts:

Insert current date - Control + ; Insert current time - Control + Shift + :

To enter both values in a single cell, enter the date, a space, then the time.

Formatting results

The result of NOW is a serial number representing an Excel date and time. You can format the value returned by TODAY using any standard date format. You can use the TEXT function to build a text message that includes the current date: To return a text string like “The date is May 31 and the time is 6:10 PM”.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.