Join Dennis Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Using TODAY and NOW functions for dynamic date/time entry, part of Excel 2007: Working with Dates and Times.
You may want to enter the current date in the worksheet in such a way that it always adjusts, in other words it's a Dynamic Date Entry, even as you open and close and save the file. In column B here, I want to put in the current date, the date of this recording, and this time I want to type a function called today. As with all functions, there is no reason to capitalize these. Although all functions are followed by two parentheses, we need to only type the left parenthesis here, then press Enter. And that's the current date.
If I save this file and then open it tomorrow, it's going to indicate July 20th, and then open at a later date, it's always going to be adjusting as needed. It does answer that question that sometimes people have when they say, "So I open and close this file and sometimes I don't even make changes, and yet I get these prompts that say 'Do you want to save your changes?'" It's probably a function like this. You might use this also in a way to timestamp a certain worksheet. So on this Profits worksheet, maybe you have been working with this.
It's early in the year. You're still adjusting some of these numbers. And as you print it out various copies, you might want to always have the current date in it. You want to put in the current date in such a way that it's always reflective of whatever the current date happens to be. So =today(, Enter, and there we have the entry there. And that will adjust and change as we print this worksheet, or whenever we happened to be looking at this. Similarly, we might want to also put in a timestamp.
Back on this worksheet here, Dynamic Time Entry is the function =now. Now this actually, as you'll see here, now( is all we need to type. It puts in the date and the time. And you possibly will leave this here if you wish, or perhaps you'll format this. And if you only want the time of course, you could right-click and Format Cells. You could also press Ctrl+1 to come to the same dialog box, and while here choose Time and then pick the Time Style that's most conducive to your needs.
Perhaps this one here, 1:30 PM, that style. So here we see a Dynamic Time Entry. This will not change unless we do something in the worksheet, and we're probably not going to be watching it anyway, but I do want to make the point that that is a dynamic entry, and as we work with a worksheet and make other changes, maybe we put in some data over here somewhere. Possibly, when I press Enter, this time will have changed, as it did here. I'm not going to be testing that often, but it does reflect the idea that this is a Dynamic Entry.
Now as we look at it now, we see what the entry was, but it's a good way to timestamp certain information, and here, too, this has possibly use in certain kinds of formulas. Two quick ways to enter both Dynamic Date Entry with the function =today, and Dynamic Time Entry using the function =now.
- Understanding how Excel records and stores dates and times
- Looking at standard date/time entry options and acceptable alternatives
- Using the TODAY and NOW functions
- Customizing date formats
- Exploring keyboard shortcuts
- Formatting time for hours over 24
- Calculating differences across dates and times
- Rounding calculations
- Working with holidays
- Validating with dates
- Converting formatted dates to usable data