This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the NOW function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Office Excel. Find links to more information about working with dates and times in the See Also section.
Returns the serial number of the current date and time. If the cell format was General before the function was entered, Excel changes the cell format to the same date and time format that is specified in the regional date and time settings in Control Panel. You can change the date and time format for the cell by using the commands in the Number group of the Home tab on the Ribbon.
The NOW function is useful when you need to display the current date and time on a worksheet or calculate a value based on the current date and time, and have that value updated each time you open the worksheet.
Note If the NOW function does not update cell values when you expect it to, you might need to change settings that control when the workbook or worksheet recalculates. For more information, see the article Change formula recalculation, iteration, or precision.
The NOW function syntax has no arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.).
- Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so that they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2008 is serial number 39448 because it is 39,447 days after January 1, 1900. Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh uses a different date system as its default.
- Numbers to the right of the decimal point in the serial number represent the time; numbers to the left represent the date. For example, the serial number 0.5 represents the time 12:00 noon.
- The results of the NOW function change only when the worksheet is calculated or when a macro that contains the function is run. It is not updated continuously.