Excel TODAY | NOW Functions - Microsoft Excel TODAY | NOW Function Tutorial

Excel TODAY | NOW Functions - Microsoft Excel TODAY | NOW Function Tutorial

Microsoft Excel TODAY | NOW Function Tutorial

The TODAY and NOW functions are designed to return today's date or date/time as Excel serial date numbers. These two functions are heavily used in date calculations and also in the Data Validation and Conditional Formatting features.

What are the Microsoft Excel TODAY and NOW Functions?

The TODAY and NOW functions are computer programs that you run from a worksheet cell formula. They simply return the date or date/time as an Excel serial number. You run these functions by typing their names in a formula followed by a set of ()'s. These two functions are heavily used in date calculations being nested in other functions and also in the Data Validation and Conditional Formatting features. The NOW function does not update continuously but every time the formula that contains it is recalculated.


How Do You Type the TODAY and NOW Functions in a Formula?

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general function syntax for these functions has a format like these when you type them in a worksheet cell:

= TODAY( )

= NOW( )

There are no argument lists for these functions so they are typed in exactly as shown above.

TODAY and NOW Function Examples

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the TODAY and NOW worksheet functions. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

A B C
1 =DAY( EOMONTH( TODAY( ), 0 ) ) The formula uses the TODAY function to return the current date as a serial number that the EOMONTH function then uses to calculate the ending date of the month as a serial number that the DAY function then uses to calculate the day as a number. So in other words, the end day of the month was just figured out  
2      
3 =Today()-14 Figure out data 14 days in the past. Quite common formula to use with Data Validation feature  
4      
5      

Things to Know About the NOW and TODAY Function

  • Excel stores its dates as sequential serial numbers so that they can be used in worksheet calculations. So therefore January 1, 1900 is 1, and January 1, 2015 is number 42005 because it is 42,005 days after January 1, 1900. Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh uses a different date system as its default.
  • Numbers that are to the right of the decimal point in the serial date number represent time. For example, the decimal number 0.5 represents the time 12:00 noon so 42005.5 is 1/1/2015 12:00:00 PM.
  • The results of the NOW function change only when the worksheet is calculated or when a macro that contains the function is run. It is not updated continuously.
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