Recently, I was asked by one of my Excel students if there was a way to insert a date on their spreadsheet that doesn’t automatically update. The answer is “yes”. They were already familiar with the date function =TODAY(). Here is a short lesson on how to enter both types of dates and times into your spreadsheet. This was a very handy feature when I created various sales reports throughout the day when I worked in Accounting.
Snippet™ Training Lesson
1. Open a new file in Excel 2010.
2. To enter a “dynamic date” that automatically updates from day to day, use the =TODAY() function.
Note: Function names are not case sensitive so you can type this in as =Today() or =today() or =TODAY().
3. Click in a blank cell and type =TODAY() and press [ENTER]. You will see today’s date. This date is dynamic and will change from day to day.
4. To enter a “static date” that will stay constant no matter what day it is, click in a blank cell and use the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] ; (semicolon) and press [ENTER].
5. If you wish to insert a “dynamic date and time” and have it automatically update, use the =NOW() function.
6. Click in a blank cell and type =NOW() and press [ENTER]. You will see today’s date and the current time.
7. To update the date and time before printing, press [F9].
8. You may need to format that cell to show the time in “standard time” (which shows AM/PM) versus “military time” (based on a 24 hour clock).
To do this, go to the Home (tab) > Number (group) and click on the Dialog Box Launcher button.
9. The Format Cells dialog box will appear. Click on the Date category in the first column and scroll down in the right column to see the date and time choices. Double-click on your desired choice.
10. To enter a “static time” that will stay constant no matter what time it is, click in a blank cell and use the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] [SHIFT] ; (semicolon) and press [ENTER].
I am happy to report that this date feature works in Excel 2003 and Excel 2007 as well. I hope you find this tip useful in date and time-stamping your Excel reports.
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