How To Insert Current Date In Google Sheets

How To Insert Current Date In Google Sheets
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Quick answer:
Two easy ways to insert the current date in Google Sheets -
Method 1: Enter =TODAY() in the cell you want to add the date
Method 2: Use the shortcut Ctrl+;

There are occasions when we need to insert the current date in Google Sheets, and sometimes the current time. It can be used to remind ourselves, or others if we are collaborating, when the spreadsheet was last updated or when a piece of particular information was added. There are a number of ways to insert the current date and/or time in Google Sheets.

The most common are the TODAY and the NOW functions. These two functions are dynamic and update regularly whenever the spreadsheet is updated or reopened.

The TODAY function inserts the current date in Google Sheets whereas the NOW function adds the current date along with the timestamp.

The TODAY function can be used to count the number of days that have elapsed since a given date or how many days are remaining until a particular date.

Let us now learn how we can use them in Google Sheets.

You can make a copy of this spreadsheet template for your reference or practice.

Insert current date in Google Sheets using the function

Inserting the current date in Google Sheets is pretty simple. To add today’s date in Google Sheets, we simply need to enter to the following syntax in a cell:

=TODAY()
Inserting the current date in Google Sheets

Note: The TODAY function does not have any parameter inside the parentheses. Putting any value inside the parentheses will return an #NA error.

To insert the current date along with time, use the NOW function.

The syntax is:

=NOW()
Current date in Google Sheets with time

As stated above, the TODAY function is a volatile function–that is, the date changes automatically to the current date whenever the spreadsheet is opened. This makes it useful in certain situations such as counting how many days have passed since a particular event or how many days there are until a certain day.

For example, if we want to calculate the number of days since the New Year, we can use the TODAY function to do so.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Enter the New Year’s date in a new cell
  2. Subtract the New Year’s date cell from the TODAY function
Counting the number of days passed using the TODAY function

We can also use the TODAY function to count the number of days remaining until a specific day, say Christmas.

The step is similar as the above except this time we subtract the TODAY function from the date.

Counting the number of days remaining using the TODAY function

This formula works in any date format. That is, whether you enter the date as 12/25/2022 or 25 December 2022 or December 25, 2022.

We can simultaneously make days counter for multiple events. We just need to enter the date of the events in a column and drag down the formula to the last cell.

Days counter for multiple events

The days remaining will be automatically updated each time you open the spreadsheet.

Note: Since the TODAY and NOW functions are volatile and refresh periodically, they can impact the performance of the spreadsheet.

Insert current date in Google Sheets with keyboard shortcut

If, however, you just want to insert the current date in Google Sheets and keep it fixed and unchanged, then you can use keyboard shortcut to do it.

To insert the current date in Google Sheets using the keyboard shortcut, use the following:

Ctrl+;

To insert the current time in Google Sheets: Ctrl+Shift+;

To insert the current date in Google Sheets with time: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+;

For Mac, replace Ctrl and Alt with Command and Option, respectively.

Keyboard shortcuts to insert current date and time

Changing the date format

To change the format of the current date in Google Sheets, select the cell or cells containing the date.

Then go to Format→Number→Custom date and time and choose one that suits your preference or style. You can also further customise the way the, hour, day, month, etc is displayed. Once the customisation is done, click Apply.

Conclusion

Adding the current date and time in Google Sheets is pretty simple and involves not more than a few keystrokes. It is simple yet useful, especially using it to count the number of days that have passed or are remaining until a period, as we have seen.

We hope this article has been helpful to you.

Similar articles

Here are some articles that you might find useful:

https://blog.tryamigo.com/working-with-date-and-time-in-google-sheets/

https://blog.tryamigo.com/introduction-to-date-function-in-google-sheets/

https://blog.tryamigo.com/how-to-use-the-weekday-function-in-google-sheets/