Formula Watch: Using NOW to timestamp your Excel documents – plus shortcuts

If you want to record the time and date while working in Excel, you can use the =NOW() function. Just enter it into any cell:

NOW function

There’s only one problem. As you work in Excel, the NOW function will continue to update. This would be great for keeping track of the current time and date if you didn’t already have a clock on your taskbar!

There are a couple things you can do to lock in the date and time:

1. Immediately after you calculate the time and date using NOW, cut and paste the cell and then use the Paste Values command to convert this from a function to the actual date and time:

Paste Values

This will ensure it will no longer change unless you change it.

2. Use keyboard shortcuts to enter time and date. This may actually prove faster than using the function, though you’ll need to devote two separate cells to the task:

Date: Ctrl-;

Time: Ctrl-Shift-;

Date and Time using shortcuts

If you’re logging time spent on projects, you can quickly enter the time you start and stop using this method.


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