How to Use the Excel Today Function

You may find that you want or need to put the current date in your Excel spreadsheet. This is where the Excel TODAY function comes in handy.

The Excel TODAY function takes no arguments but you still need to use the left and right parentheses because it is a function. Its usage looks like this:

=TODAY()

The result of the TODAY function is a formatted date. This happens because Excel automatically converts a General formatted cell into a Date formatted cell when you use the TODAY function.

Adding or subtracting days with the Excel TODAY function

You can also use the TODAY function to display an offset of the current date. For example, if you want to see the date 5 days into the future, you can use:

=TODAY()+5

If you want to see the date 10 days in the past, you can use:

=TODAY()-10

Check out our Excel Lesson Videos to learn how to use more common functions like the TODAY function in Excel.

Formatting the date

If you wish to change the format of the date produced by the Excel TODAY function, you can use the Format Cells dialog box. Choose Date from the category list and then select one of the preset Excel dates from the list to the right. Click the OK button to accept the change.

Excel Format Cells dialog

Excel TODAY function automatically updates

It is worth noting that Excel by default automatically updates all cells in your spreadsheet each time a change is made or when the file is initially opened. Because of this, the Excel TODAY function will always show the current date, not just the date you first used the formula.

In other words, if you use the TODAY function on January 10th, it will show the date, 01/10/18. However, if you save the spreadsheet and re-open it on January 18th, the cell with the TODAY function will automatically change the date to 01/18/18 when the spreadsheet is opened.

So, the next time you need to insert the current date into your Excel spreadsheet, remember the quick and simple Excel TODAY function.

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