*This tutorial demonstrates various ways of entering dates in Excel. See how to insert today's date and current time as static time stamp or dynamic values, how to auto populate a column or row with weekdays, and how to auto fill random dates in Excel.*

There are several ways to add dates in Excel depending on what exactly you want to do. For example, do you want to enter a today's date in some report or invoice? Or, perhaps you want to insert a date in Excel that will update automatically and always display the current date and time? Or, maybe you want to auto fill weekdays or input random dates in your worksheet?

In a moment, you will learn all these and a few more date entering techniques. If you are curious to know how Excel stores dates and times, please check out part 1 of this tutorial - Excel date format.

You can type a date in an Excel cell in a variety of ways, for example 1/1/2015, or 1-Jan-2015, or 1-Jan, or January 1, 2015. When you type something like that in a cell, Microsoft Excel knows you are entering a date and automatically applies the date format to that cell. Quite often, Excel formats the newly inserted date according to your Windows default date settings, but sometimes it may leave it exactly as you typed.

The most obvious visual indication that Excel has recognized the date you've entered is its right-alignment in a cell as opposed to left-aligned text values.

If Excel has failed to recognize your input as a date and you see it left-justified in a cell, try inserting a date in some other format close to your default short or long date formats. These formats are marked with an asterisk (*) in the *Format Cell* dialog window and you can quickly access them on the Excel ribbon (*Home* tab > **Number** group):

You will be able to easily change the date format later via the *Format Cells* dialog that opens on the Ctrl + 1 shortcut. For more details, please see How to change the date format in Excel.

In Microsoft Excel, you can input the current date and time either as a static or dynamic value.

To begin with, let's define what timestamp is. Timestamping is entering a "static date" that won't change with the course of time or when the spreadsheet is recalculated.

So, if your goal is to enter the current date and/or time as a static value that won't automatically update the next day, you can use one of the following shortcuts:

- Ctrl + ; shortcut inserts the
**today date**in a cell. - Ctrl + Shift + ; shortcut inserts the
**current time**. - To enter the current date and time, press Ctrl + ; then press the Space key, and then Ctrl + Shift + ;.

If you want to input today's date in Excel that will always remain up to date, use one of the following Excel date functions:

`=TODAY()`

- inserts the**today date**in a cell.`=NOW()`

- inserts the**today date****and current time**in a cell.

Unlike Excel date shortcuts, the TODAY and NOW functions will always return today's date and current time.

When using the Excel date functions, please keep in mind that:

- The returned date and time are not refreshed continuously, they are updated only when the spreadsheet is re-opened or re-calculated, or when a macro containing the function is run.
- The functions take the current date and time from your computer's system clock.

This section addresses a handful of comments that have been posted on this page with one and the same question: *"What formula do I use to enter a timestamp in my Excel sheet without it changing every time the worksheet is reopened or recalculated?"*

For starters, I'd like to note that I'm very hesitant to post this solution because it involves circular references, and they should be treated with great care. Anyway, here goes the formula…

Let's say you have a list of items in column A, and as soon as a certain item is shipped, you enter "Yes" in the Delivery column, which is column B. Once "Yes" is in there, you want to have the current date and time automatically inserted in the same row in column C as a static unchangeable time stamp.

To do this, we are going to use the following nested IF formula with circular references in the second IF function:

`=IF(B2="yes", IF(C2="" ,NOW(), C2), "")`

Where B is the *Delivery* column, and C2 is the cell where you input the formula and where the time stamp will eventually appear.

In the above formula, the first IF function checks cell B2 for the word "Yes" (or any other text you supply to the formula), and if the specified text is there, it runs the second IF function, otherwise returns an empty string. And the second IF is a circular formula that makes the NOW function return the current day and time if C2 doesn't have a value in it already, thus saving all existing time stamps.

If instead of checking for any specific word, you want the timestamp to appear when you put anything in the specified cell (that could be any number, text or date), then have the first IF function to check for a non-empty cell, like this:

`=IF(B2<>"", IF(C2="" ,NOW(), C2), "")`

If you need to insert dates in a range of cells, you can let Excel "auto date" a column or row by using the AutoFill feature.

To automatically fill a column or row with an incrementing date series that increases by one day, you use Excel's AutoFill feature in the usual way:

- Enter your initial date in the first cell.
- Click on the cell with the first date to select it, and then drag the fill handle across or down the cells where you want Excel to add dates. (The fill handle is a small green square that appears at the bottom-right corner when you select a cell or a range of cells in Excel, as shown in the screenshot below.)

There are two ways to automatically populate the selected range of cells with weekdays, months or years.

- You can use the Excel AutoFill options as described above. When the range is populated with sequential dates, click the
*AutoFill Options*icon and select the option you want:

- Another way is to enter your first date, right-click the fill handle and drag the fill handle through the cells you want to auto fill with dates, and then release it. When you do, Excel displays a context menu and you select the appropriate option from it.

If you've tried a second solution described above, you probably noticed the *Series* option near the bottom, which provides a few more auto date features. One of them is inserting every 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th}, etc. day, month or year in a worksheet. Let's try this now:

- Add the first date in some cell.
- Select that cell,
**right-click**on the fill handle, drag it down or across several cells, and then release. - In the context menu, click
**Series**. - In the
*Series*dialog box, choose the appropriate*Date unit*and enter the*Step value*. - Click OK.

Regrettably, Microsoft Excel does not provide an option to enter random dates automatically. Luckily, AbleBits Random Generator for Excel does :)

You simply select a range of cells where you want to autofill dates in a random order, and switch to the Random Generator's pane where you specify:

- Start and End date;
- What days to add - weekdays, weekends or both;
- To add only unique dates, check the
*Unique**values*

Then you click the *Generate* button, and have the selected range populated with random dates.

Apart from dates, the Random Generator add-in can auto fill your worksheets with numbers, Boolean vales and custom lists. If you think this is something that would be useful in your work, you can get it as part of our Ultimate Suite for Excel that includes 60+ time-saving tools and over 300 useful features.

If you are setting up a spreadsheet for other users, and want to make sure they enter dates right, it may be a good idea to insert a drop-down calendar in a worksheet. Your users will be able to fill in dates in a mouse click and you will be 100% confident that all dates are entered in an appropriate format.

If you are using a **32-bit** version of Excel, you can use Microsoft's Date Picker control. For the detailed instructions, please see How to insert calendar in Excel (Date Picker control).

If you are using a **64-bit** version of Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Microsoft's Date Picker control won't do. In this case, consider using one of the third-party calendars, for example our own one :)

For more options, please see third-party drop-down calendars for Excel.

This is how you insert date in Excel. I am hopeful these date entering techniques, shortcuts, functions and Excel auto date features have proved useful to you. Anyway, thank you for reading!

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Category: Excel Tips

## 313 responses to "How to insert dates in Excel - add today's date, auto fill a column with dates"

Changing Year but Date has no change in daily.

Can you enter a start date and end date which will then insert the range of dates on the worksheet? I’m trying to add school dates for a half term.

WHEN IN GIVE INTERY IN NEXT SHELL IT DATE FORMATE NOT WORKING

Hello there, I am wanting to auto generate the current date and time "NOW" function every time I enter data into another cell.

Example: If I enter data into cell A3 I would like it to automatically generate "Now" function into cell B3 as I continue to enter data in the A column.

Did I miss something that you already covered?

Any update on this?

How do I autofill down a row from most recent month to prior month? For example, May 2019 in top cell of the row and then autofill for April 2019, March 2019, etc. in cells underneath the top cell?

How to make timestamp for a cell created date (when a value is entered in cell) and last modified date (when the value in the cell is changed)?

I only found formula which record the workbook create/last mod date.

when i open excel sheet automatically show on the current date! how did

the date will be the previous cell after data entry in next cell

when i put a new date is showing that date must be between 1st-Oct-2018 and 30-Sep-2019

why?

Hi,

I want to enter a date in cell A4 and it to auto populate in B4 with the date 28 days in advance so: A4 01/01/2019 - B4 29/01/19. How can i do this automatically without having to go to fill - series every time?

Very helpful! Thank you!

Send always new formulas in my email

I want to add a date in cell A14 on one sheet, then auto populate, plus one day, in cell a14 on every sheet following. Can you help me?

Hi will you be advise how can you track completion date(fixed date) in an IF function i.e. if(A3="Completed",*fixed date to track when completed,"On-going")

Help would be much appreciated

Hi,

i want to make one column to change the text(for eg: Active or Expired) according to the current date.

can have a formula or format for this?

Hi,

i want to make one column text eg:Active or Expired according to current date in another column.

is there any formula or format?

Hello Mubashir!

Please use the following formula

=IF(TODAY()>A1,"Expired","Active")

If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know.

Sir I want renewal date auto fill by drag ., For example- i have in A column 01/04/2015, 30/01/2013, 21/05/2018, it result show in column B is 31/03/2020, 29/01/2020, 20/05/2020 please give me the formula

in excel how do i enter a RANDOM date - at present only ####### appears after i enter a date and press return

Hello Chris!

I’m sorry but your task is not entirely clear to me.

Please describe your problem in more detail.

Explain how you enter a random date. Do you write it manually or use some kind of formula?

In this case, I will try to help you.

Thanks . Good Topic . I had learn 2 more things from here

Hi I need a date to auto populate when I put a name in the adjacent cell. I am going to put a name or something in a1 and I need a2 to populate a the date automatically.

Hello!

I hope you have studied the recommendations in the above tutorial.

I think this section has an answer.

one question!

how insert date automatically in Excel every day change it automatically date?

i want your help please...

i want to enter the specific month and year on A3, and i want to automatic fill A7 with the next month of A3, how will i do it?

Thanks

Hello!

You can add or subtract months to a date with Excel EDATE. See this example.

date formula not working

Hello!

Please specify what you were trying to find, what formula you used and what problem or error occurred. Give an example of the source data and the expected result.

It’ll help me understand it better and find a solution for you.

I have JAN2021 sheet with columns labeled with dates D2=01-JAN, E2=02-JAN, F2=03-JAN until AG2=30-JAN then rows C4=John, C5=Albert, C6=Mark until C58=Steve with D4:AG58 marked either as x or v. Another sheet called Dates with rows C2=John, C3=Albert until C56=Steve and columns F2:AI56 blank. Question is how can I auto-populate the date in F2:AI56 from Jan2021 sheet when I enter v as a value in D4:AG58?

JAN2021

D2=01-Jan

C4=John

D4= v

Dates

C2=John

F2=autopopulate 01-Jan

How do I dislay result as "as on today date in excel

i use this but its not working

=IF(B1="yes",IF(C1="yes",NOW(),""),FALSE)

apple yes 0/1/1900

banana yes 0/1/1900

grape yes 0/1/1900

Hello!

If I understand correctly, you want to replace the value in C1 with the current date using the formula. We have said many times on our blog that this is only possible with a VBA macro.

copy date and time off pdf sheet into a log?

Sir, i am using =IF(B2"", IF(C2="" ,NOW(), C2), "") this formula and having a problem for last few days.

Problem is:

When I go into the spreadsheet, every day take the current date for my last few entries .

I m using google spreadsheet.

could you pls give me solution

Hello Noman,

NOW in Google Sheets is a volatile function meaning it recalculates itself each time any change is made in a spreadsheet. There are 2 ways to change this behavior:

File > Spreadsheet settings > Calculationand pick one of three existing settings forRecalculation.Ctrl+;for dateCtrl+Shift+:for timeOk. I am looking for dates to auto populate based on a loan term and how many days left till the end of each month.

Want the formula to know if the loan term will be 24 months (2 yrs) and or 36 months (3 yrs).

Would like to create a formula that takes into account todays date, determine how many days left till the end of the month, once the 10 day mark is reached before the end of the month want the dates to auto populate to the next cycle.

For example using two year term.

Cell A1 = Loan Payment Date (Example value (06/01/2021)

Cell B1 = Loan End Date before (Example value (07/01/2023)

but since todays date is 5/25/2021 want the formula to recognize it is < 10days till end of month and change the Loan Payment Date to 07/01/2021 and the Loan End Date 08/01/2023.

I know its possible just don't know how to create the formula.

Hi!

An Excel formula can change the value only in the cell that it is pasted in. If you need to change the content on the cell that has some value in it, you’ll need to use a VBA macro.

There is a way to do it without using a macro. I guess you are not that advanced in Excel as you would like to think you are.

Hi!

If you are so advanced in Excel then share your knowledge with us.

Is there any formula for updating the date automatically once i copy paste the data in another sheet of the excel. The purpose being i need for a stat update daily while keeping the old one.

Hello!

Pay attention to the following paragraph of the article above — Functions to insert today's date that updates automatically

I need to make a auto timer with date and time, if time for the next day it’s not changing in date

Hello!

To prevent your date from automatically changing, you can use several methods:

1. Use Shortcuts to insert the current date and time

2. Use the recommendations from this article in our blog.

3. Replace the date and time returned by the TODAY function with their values. Copy the date (CTRL + C), then paste only the values using Paste Special or Shortcut CTRL + ALT + V.

Good day. I want to auto update the date in a cell, each time I update my sheet. For instance, the date must update in A1 when I enter a value in B1. Then tomorrow when I enter a value in B2, that day"s date must auto update in A2.

Please help.

Kind regards

Werner

Hi!

Here is the article that may be helpful to you: How to insert today date & current time as unchangeable time stamp

Hey there,

When I insert a date into a cell it calculates by a value of one (using on a point system), how do I adjust the formula to calculate by a value of .5?

Thank you,

Hello!

I’m sorry but your task is not entirely clear to me. For me to be able to help you better, please describe your task in more detail.