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How to use the NOW function in Microsoft Excel

Let's look at some Excel Now function examples and explore how to use the Now function as a worksheet function in Microsoft Excel:

NOW function


There are so many situations where we need to find out the current time or date or we can say the future date related to specific date, then, in that case, the NOW function helps in Microsoft Excel to calculate the same.
The Excel NOW function returns the current system date and time, updated continuously when a worksheet is changed or opened. The NOW function takes no arguments. You can format the value returned by NOW as a date, or as a date with time by applying a number format.
The NOW function is a built-in function in Excel that is categorized as a Date/Time Function.
When used as a worksheet function, the NOW function will refresh the date/time value whenever the worksheet recalculates.
This function is very useful for automatically calculating preparing various KPI reports and date gap such as, Birthday, Invoicing delay...


Get the current date and time.

Return value

A serial number representing a particular date and time in Excel.

What Does It Do ?

This function shows the current date and time. The result will be updated each time the worksheet is opened and every time an entry is made anywhere on the worksheet.


=NOW ()

Parameters or Arguments

The NOW function syntax has no arguments.
The reason the NOW function takes no arguments is that the function obtains its data by reading the computer's system clock.


The result will be shown as a date and time. If it is formatted to show as a number.
The integer part is used for the date and the decimal portion represent the time.

Usage notes

  • NOW takes no parameters but requires empty parentheses.
  • The value returned by NOW will continually update each time the worksheet is refreshed (for example, each time a value is entered or changed). Use F9 to force the worksheet to recalculate and update the value.
  • Returns the serial number of the current date and time. If the cell format was General before the function was entered, Excel changes the cell format so that it matches the date and time format of your regional settings. You can change the date and time format for the cell by using the commands in the Number group of the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  • When you enter NOW function in a cell it will convert the format of the cell into a custom format (m/d/yyyy h:mm).
  • #VALUE! error – Occurs when the given serial_number is not a valid Excel time.
  • If we want to display the date only, we can format the cell with a date format that does not display time, or we can use the TODAY function, which only inserts the date component.
  • If you need a static time that won't change, you can enter the current time using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + ;
  • If you need a Date that won't change, you can enter the current date using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + ;

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