How to Insert Current Date in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Inserting the current date in Excel is a breeze. You can do it either by typing a formula or using a keyboard shortcut. Both methods are straightforward, and you’ll find yourself breezing through this task in no time. Plus, once you know how to do it, you’ll see it’s super handy for keeping records or tracking updates.

How to Insert Current Date in Excel

Inserting the current date in an Excel spreadsheet can be done easily with just a few steps. We’ll go through the process of entering the current date using a formula and a keyboard shortcut.

Step 1: Click on the Desired Cell

Select the cell where you want the current date to appear.

By doing this, you are making sure that the date will be placed exactly where you need it. Make sure the cell is empty to avoid overwriting important data.

Step 2: Enter the Formula

Type =TODAY() in the selected cell and press Enter.

The =TODAY() function grabs the current date from your computer and updates it automatically each day. It’s great for logs or documents that need to reflect the current date.

Step 3: Use a Keyboard Shortcut Instead

Press Ctrl + ; (Control key plus the semicolon) to insert the current date quickly.

This method is a quick fix if you don’t want the date to change every day. It inputs the date as a static value, so it won’t update automatically.

Step 4: Format the Date

Right-click the cell, choose ‘Format Cells,’ and select the date format you prefer.

Excel offers various date formats, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your document. This step helps ensure consistency and clarity in your spreadsheet.

Step 5: Copy the Date to Other Cells

Select the cell with the date, drag the fill handle (small square at the cell’s bottom right corner), and drop it to the desired range.

Copying helps when you need the same date in multiple cells. The fill handle makes it easy to duplicate the date across a range of cells.

After completing these steps, you will see the current date in the cell you selected. If you used the =TODAY() formula, the date will update every day. If you used the keyboard shortcut, the date will remain static.

Tips for Inserting Current Date in Excel

  • Use =TODAY() for dynamic dates that update automatically.
  • Use Ctrl + ; for static dates that don’t change.
  • Format the date to match the rest of your document.
  • Remember to check for any existing data in the cell before inserting the date.
  • Use the fill handle to copy the date efficiently across multiple cells.


Can I insert the current date automatically in multiple cells?

Yes, you can. Use the =TODAY() function in one cell and drag the fill handle to copy it to other cells.

What if I need the current time as well?

You can use the =NOW() function to get both the current date and time.

How do I stop the =TODAY() function from updating?

To stop the date from updating, copy the cell with the =TODAY() function, and then paste it as a value using ‘Paste Special’.

Can I change the default date format in Excel?

Yes, you can. Go to ‘File’ > ‘Options’ > ‘Advanced,’ and modify the date format under ‘When calculating this workbook.’

Is there a way to insert the date automatically upon opening the document?

Yes, you can use the =TODAY() function in a cell, and it will display the current date each time the document is opened.


  1. Click on the desired cell.
  2. Enter the formula =TODAY().
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + ;.
  4. Format the date.
  5. Copy the date to other cells.


Inserting the current date in Excel is a simple yet powerful task that can save you time and keep your documents up-to-date. Whether you use the =TODAY() function for dynamic dates or the Ctrl + ; shortcut for static ones, you’ll find yourself working more efficiently.

Remember to format your date correctly and be mindful of any existing data in your selected cells. By mastering this basic skill, you’re taking a big step toward becoming more proficient in Excel.

If you found this guide helpful, you might want to check out our other articles on Excel tips and tricks. Keep exploring, and you’ll be an Excel whiz in no time!

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