## What Is NOW Function In Excel?

The

NOWfunction in Excel is an inbuiltDate & Timefunction that displays the current date and time. And the output gets updated every time we open or refresh the workbook. Users can use theNOW()when determining values based on the current date and time. The function is useful while preparing dynamic KPI reports for financial analysis.

For example, the below table shows the requirements in column A. Now, we need to display the required date and time in column B.

**Using NOW function in Excel**, we can update column B with the required data.

The above **example** shows the specific duration getting deducted from or added to the **NOW()** output. It depends on whether the required current date and time is a past or future value.

Likewise, we can use the **NOW **function in Excel with other Excel functions, such as **IF**, **DAYS**, **TIME**, and **INT**, to make the most of it.

##### Table of contents

###### Key Takeaways

- The
**NOW**function in Excel returns the current system date and time as a dynamic value, which is useful while preparing KPI reports for financial analysis. - The
**NOW()**does not take any arguments as input. - We can enter the
**NOW()**by:- Using the option
**Formulas**🡪**Date & Time 🡪 NOW**. - Manually entering the
**NOW()**in the target cell. - Using the keyboard shortcut,
**Ctrl**+**;**, ” “, and then**Ctrl**+**Shift**+**;**.

- Using the option
- We can achieve impressive results using the
**NOW()**with other Excel functions, such as**IF**,**DAYS**, and**TIME**.

### NOW() Excel Formula

The syntax for the **NOW **formula in Excel is:

**Please Note: **The **NOW()** does not take any arguments as input.

Below are a few critical aspects we should know while **using NOW function in Excel**.

- The
**NOW()**returns the current date and time, as a dynamic value, based on the clock on our computer. - If the target cell
**Number Format**is**General**, the**NOW()**output will be the serial number representing the current date and time. On the other hand, if the**Number Format**is**Date**, the**NOW()**output will only show the current date. And with the**Number Format**custom set as date and time, the**NOW()**will show the current date and time. - The
**NOW**function is volatile. So, when we edit the worksheet or refresh or re-open the workbook, the function automatically recalculates and displays the refreshed**NOW()**output. - We can also click anywhere in the active worksheet and press
**Shift**+**F9**to update the**NOW function in Excel return value**in the cell containing the**NOW()**. On the other hand, we will have to press**F9**to update all our open workbooks. - The time values get represented using decimal numbers, with the numbers denoting the days and the fractions denoting the hours.

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### How To Use NOW Excel Function?

The steps to use the **NOW **function in Excel are:

- Select the target cell where we want to display the current date and time.
- Enter the
**NOW()**and press**Enter**.

Let us see the steps with a**n example**. Consider the table below and assume we need to update column A with the current date and time.

We can execute the **NOW **function in Excel using three ways to get the required data.

**Select the target cell A2 and click****Formulas**🡪**Date & Time**🡪**NOW**to open the**Function Arguments**window.

Once we click on the**NOW()**, the below**Function Arguments**window will open, where we need to click**OK**.

The NOW function in excel return value in the target cell A2 will be:**Select the target cell A3, manually enter the NOW(), and press Enter.****Select the target cell A4 and first press Ctrl + ; to enter the current date. Then press the space bar to enter a space character. Finally, press Ctrl + Shift + ; to get the current time.**

The third technique uses the keyboard shortcut to enter the current date and time in the target cell. However, if we use it, the output does not update automatically every time we re-open or refresh the workbook.

### Examples

Here are some scenarios where we can apply the **NOW **function in Excel.

#### Example #1

The example below shows how we can use **TODAY and NOW function in Excel** to enter the current time without displaying the date. Also, the time will dynamically get updated each time we make changes to the spreadsheet or re-open it.

Suppose below is a table where we need to update the current time in cell B3, which will update automatically, the same way as when using the **NOW **function.

We can achieve the required result using the ** NOW and TODAY function in Excel**, and the steps are:

**Step 1: **To begin with, select cell B1, enter the **NOW()**, and press **Enter**.

**Step 2: **Next, select cell B2, enter the **TODAY()**, and press **Enter.**

**Step 3: **Select the target cell B3, enter one of the below formulas, and press **Enter**.

** =B1-B2** or

*=NOW() – TODAY()*Cell B3 contains the current time, but the **Number Format** is set as **General**, as highlighted in the above image.

We will have to change the **Number Format** to get the time in the proper format.

**Step 4: **Select cell B3 and set the **Number Format** in the **Home** tab as **Time**.

Alternatively, we can select cell B3 and click on the** More Number Formats **option in the **Number Format** drop-down list to open the **Format Cells** window.

In the **Format Cells** window, select the **Custom** option in the **Number** tab and choose the required time format, as depicted in the below image.

And once we click **OK**, the output in cell B3 will be:

So, when we set the proper time format, we can confirm the current time obtained in cell B3, using the functions **TODAY** and **NOW,** is the same as what the **NOW()** returned in cell B1.

#### Example #2

This example shows us how to use the **NOW **with the **IF** **function in Excel**.

Consider the below table. It shows project submission deadlines in column A.

Suppose we need to update the table with the current date, time, and project status. Then we can use the **NOW **function and the **IF()** to get the required data.

**Step 1: **To begin with, select cell B2, enter the **NOW()**, and press **Enter**.

**Step 2: **Drag the fill handle downwards to copy the formula in the cell range B3:B6.

**Step 3: **Select cell C2, enter the formula containing the **NOW()** and **IF()**, and press **Enter**.

*=IF((A2-NOW())>0,”Due”,”Deadline Missed”)*

**Step 4: **Drag the fill handle downwards to copy the formula in the range C3:C6.

The **IF()** checks whether the difference between the submission deadline and the current date and time is greater than **0**. If the condition holds, the project is due for submission. Otherwise, the project missed the submission deadline.

#### Example #3

This example shows how to use the **NOW **function in Excel with other built-in functions such as **DAYS()**.

Suppose the current date is **23-09-2022**, and we have the leadership meeting schedules for the next three months.

And we require to check the number of days left for each meeting from the current date. Though the current time is not a criterion, we can apply the** DAYS()** and the **NOW **function in Excel to get the output.

The steps are:

**Step 1: **First, select the target cell C2, enter the below formula, and press **Enter**.

*=DAYS(A2,NOW())*

**Step 2: **Drag the fill handle downwards to copy the formula in the cell range C3:C7.

In the above formula, the **NOW()** returns the current date and time. And the **DAYS()** require two arguments as input, **end_date** and **start_date**.

So the **DAYS() **takes the dates in columns A and B as the **end_date** and **start_date**. It then computes the total number of days between the two specified dates to display as the output in each cell from the range C2:C7.

### Important Things To Note

- The
**NOW**function in Excel, by default, displays the current date and time in the custom format,**m/d/yyyy h:mm**. - Choose the proper data format from the
**Number Format**options in the**Home**tab to display the**NOW()**return value in the required format. - The
**NOW()**is volatile. Every time we edit or open the worksheet, the function recalculates and returns the updated current date and time. - When we apply the Excel keyboard shortcut,
**Ctrl**+**;**, a space character,**Ctrl**+**Shift**+**;**, to enter the current date and time, the output will be static.

### Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

**1. Where is the NOW function in Excel?**

The **NOW **function in Excel is in the **Formulas** tab. We will have to click **Formulas** 🡪 **Date & Time** 🡪 **NOW**.

**2. What does the NOW() return in Excel?**

The **NOW()** returns in Excel the current date and time. And the return value gets updated each time we make changes in our spreadsheet or open our workbook.

We can change the **NOW() **output data format to display only the date or time according to our requirements.

**3. How do I make a static function NOW?**

We can make a static function **NOW** using the below methods:

● Once we enter the **NOW()** in the target cell, press **Ctrl** + **C **to copy the function. And then press **Alt** + **E** + **S** + **V** one after the other to paste the value into the target cell without the formula. Thus, this method will display the cell content as a static value.

● Apply the keyboard shortcut keys to enter the current date and time in the target cell. First press **Ctrl** + **;**, then a space character, and finally press **Ctrl** + **Shift** + **;**. We will see the current date and time with a space in between.

Thus, using these techniques, we can use the **NOW()** to enter the current date and time. But these values will not get updated every time we make changes in the spreadsheet or open the workbook, thus making the **NOW()** behave like a static function.

**4. Is NOW() volatile?**

The **NOW() **is volatile. Every time we edit or re-open our spreadsheet, it recalculates and returns dynamic current date and time values.

For example, consider the below table.

Suppose we use the **NOW()** to enter the current date and time in cell A2.

And then, using the keyboard shortcut, **Ctrl** + **;**, ” “, and then **Ctrl** + **Shift** + **;**, we update the required value in cell A3.

Now, assume we save and close the worksheet and re-open it after a minute. Then, we will see the refreshed current date and time in cell A2, containing the **NOW()**, as depicted in the below image.

### Download Template

This article must be helpful to understand the **NOW Function In Excel**, with its formula and examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.

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