​​​​Today

The Excel TODAY function returns the current date.

Syntax

=TODAY()

The Today function requires no arguments.

Example

The simplest example is to write =TODAY() into a cell in Excel. The current date will be shown.

The result of the Today function on the 20th of March 2020.
The result of the Today function on the 20th of March 2020.

The Today function will update to the current date whenever the worksheet is opened or edited. Or when you press F9.

For a date five days in the past, you can use =TODAY() - 5. And, similarly, for a date two days in the future, use =TODAY() + 2.

This function is often combined with other date functions to return specific parts of the date. For example, to show only the current year, you can use the TODAY function inside of the YEAR function. Like so:

Only get the current year using =YEAR(TODAY())

The same can be done with:

  • =MONTH(TODAY()) to get the month of the year.
  • =DAY(TODAY()) to get the day of the month.
  • =WEEKDAY(TODAY()) to get the day of the week (with Sunday = 1, Monday = 2, …, Saturday = 7).

There are a couple of similar functions that work on time (HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND). But those have to be used with the NOW() function.

Here you can see the difference between the Today and the Now function. Note that the Now function also returns the date.
Here you can see the difference between the Today and the Now function. Note that the Now function also returns the date.

Questions

How do I get a date that won’t be updated?

You can insert the current date using Ctrl + ; (Windows) or ^ + ; (Mac). A date inserted this way will not change.

What if I also want the current time?

In that case, you should use the NOW() function.

Notes on the Today function

There are some things to keep in mind when using the TODAY function.

  1. The Today function does not return the time. So if you want to use the time, you have to use the Now function.
  2. When a value is returned, it is in Excel date serial number format. This means that under the hood, it’s just a number. You can see this by changing the number format of a cell containing =TODAY() to General. Read this article for more information about serial numbers.
  3. If you combine Today with a function like Year, Month or Day, you may sometimes end up with a date that is somewhere in the year 1900. If this happens, the cell’s number formatting is set to Date. You should change it to General or Number to fix this.
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