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Tips and Tricks 5: Excel Shortcuts – Entering the current date and time

by Brilliance Computer Training Academy & Services


You might want to insert the current date or time in Excel. Two easy shortcuts for this is: 

Ctrl + ; is a shortcut key  to enter the current date in a cell.

Ctrl + :  or  Ctrl + Shift + ; are shortcut keys to enter the current time in a cell.


It should be noted though that once you have entered a date or time, these values are fixed.

Should you wish to enter a date or time that will constantly update each time that the Excel file opens or when Excel refreshes calculations, you will then rather want to use the following two functions.  

=TODAY() is used to insert the current date

=NOW() is used to insert the current date and time. However, how it is displayed in Excel all depends on how the number formatting is displayed. Below you will see a default display of the date and time. Then again, this is as is defined on your compter's regional settings, or in Excel's options.


But suppose I want to display the time only and for the date, I would like to display the day as you see blow. 


What is needed to change it as the format above, is to select the number formatting options on the Home Tab, select the Custom formatting options, and change the formatting accordingly as is displayed below.

For the date, in the Type dialogue box, I will enter "dd mmm yyyy". Note that the Sample box will display the expected result, in this case, 05 Aug 2016.


To see only the time instead of both the date and time, select the Custom formatting options again, and in the Type dialogue box, change the formatting to h:mm. Of course, you can set the time format according to your own preference.


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