The functions TODAY and NOW are two extremely important functions. They allow you to create dynamic workbooks using the system date on your computer.

We will use these functions to create workbooks such as

  • Automatic calendar
  • Worker timesheet
  • Follow-up of supplier payments
  • Delivery delays
  • ...

Presentation of the functions

To view the current day, use the following formula


To display the date and the time, you should use the following formula.



  • Parentheses are compulsory even if the function doesn't expect any parameter.
  • The cell is automatically formatted in date.

Split date and time

To return only the time, you must perform a deduction as explained in this article to separate the dates from the times.

Why use a function instead of writing the date?

Yes, why use a function when it is easier to enter the date directly in a cell? And even better with the shortcut CTRL+ ; (control key + semicolon)

Unfortunately, this date will not change any more because it is written in hard copy.

While writing either TODAY or NOW, the date will automatically change day after day 😍😍😍

Exercise with the function TODAY

What is the point of using this function in a workbook?

This function is very useful for automatically calculating date variances, such as

  • Birthday
  • Maturity
  • Payback period
  • Invoicing delay

In the following workbook, you have some customers who have not yet paid their bills (the date in column C is empty)

So, in case the cell containing the payment dates is empty, we will use the current date.

We will first test whether the payment date is empty or not.


If so, then we will perform the subtraction operation between the current date and the order date.


We put these two elements in an IF function


You can try to reproduce this formula in the workbook below or simply copy the formula already present in D4.

And what's happen tomorrow?

Well, since our formula uses the TODAY function, the value of the day will change on the following days.

So, the gap between the days will change every day 😎😍👍

Related articles

Have a look at these other articles that could help you in your work

Permanent link to this article: https://www.excel-exercise.com/now-today/


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  1. David

    How can I use =now() to show date and standard time, not military time?

    1. Frédéric LE GUEN

      It depends of the local setting of windows (regional format)

  2. Sascha Gallardo

    I need a formula that checks whether today's date is at the beginning of the week or in the middle. I'm creating a weekly attendance sheet that's being printed. Sometimes I need to print it in the middle of the week, and the sheet starts with that day's name and date: What I have now is this (showing three cells of each)

    =TEXT(WEEKDAY(C3;1);"dddd") || =TEXT(WEEKDAY(E3;1);"dddd") || =TEXT(WEEKDAY(G3;1);"dddd")
    TODAY() || TODAY()+1 || TODAY()+2

    Can you help?

    1. Sascha Gallardo

      BTW, nice touch to use my computer's settings to show the actual formula!

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