How to Insert Date and Time in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Insert Date and Time in Excel

Inserting the date and time in Excel is a breeze once you know the steps. Whether you’re keeping track of deadlines, monitoring project timelines, or simply organizing your daily tasks, learning how to quickly insert date and time can streamline your workflow. Follow the steps below to master this essential Excel skill.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Insert Date and Time in Excel

In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of inserting the current date and time into an Excel spreadsheet using simple and efficient methods.

Step 1: Open Excel

Open the Excel program on your computer to get started.

Make sure you have a blank or existing spreadsheet ready to work on. This will be where we insert the date and time.

Step 2: Select the Cell

Click on the cell where you want to insert the date and time.

Choosing the correct cell ensures that the date and time appear exactly where you need them in your spreadsheet.

Step 3: Insert Current Date

Press Ctrl + ; on your keyboard to insert the current date.

This keyboard shortcut quickly inputs today’s date into the selected cell, saving you time from manually typing it out.

Step 4: Insert Current Time

Press Ctrl + Shift + ; to insert the current time.

By using this shortcut, you can efficiently record the exact time of any activity, which is particularly useful for time-sensitive tasks.

Step 5: Insert Both Date and Time

Use the formula =NOW() to insert both the current date and time into a cell.

Typing =NOW() into a cell and pressing Enter will automatically display both the date and time, updating every time the spreadsheet recalculates.

After completing these steps, the date and/or time will appear in your selected cell(s). You can now proceed to format these entries to match your preferred style.

Tips for Inserting Date and Time in Excel

  • Use Shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + ; (for date) and Ctrl + Shift + ; (for time) can speed up data entry.
  • Format Cells: Right-click on the cell and choose Format Cells to customize the appearance of your date and time.
  • Static vs. Dynamic: Remember, using =NOW() provides a dynamic date and time that will update, whereas keyboard shortcuts insert static values.
  • Combine Date and Time: If you need both date and time in one cell, use the formula =TEXT(NOW(), "mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm AM/PM") for custom formatting.
  • Auto-Fill: Drag the fill handle to copy the date and time to adjacent cells quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep the inserted date and time from updating?

Use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + ; and Ctrl + Shift + ; to insert static date and time values that won’t change.

Can I change the date and time format?

Yes, right-click the cell, go to Format Cells, and choose your desired date and time format.

How do I insert a date that will not change?

Use Ctrl + ; to insert a static date that remains constant.

What if I need the date and time to update automatically?

Use the formula =NOW() to have both date and time update every time the sheet recalculates.

Is there a shortcut to apply custom date and time formats?

While there’s no specific shortcut for custom formatting, you can quickly access Format Cells by pressing Ctrl + 1.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Select the cell.
  3. Insert current date with Ctrl + ;.
  4. Insert current time with Ctrl + Shift + ;.
  5. Use =NOW() for both date and time.


Inserting date and time in Excel is a fundamental skill that can significantly enhance your productivity. By following the above steps, you can efficiently add date and time information to your spreadsheets, ensuring accurate and up-to-date records. Whether you choose to use keyboard shortcuts for static entries or formulas for dynamic content, Excel offers flexible options to meet your needs. If you frequently manage timelines or deadlines, mastering these techniques is crucial.

For further reading, explore Excel’s extensive formatting options and advanced functions to customize your data presentation. What’s your go-to Excel tip? Share your thoughts and keep the conversation going!

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