Date Functions in Excel 2003


Format options for date functions in Excel
Format options for date functions in Excel

Using Date Functions in Excel 2003


There are a number of date functions available in Excel. Depending on your needs, you can use a date function in Excel to return the current date, the current time, or the day of the week. This article covers using the most commonly used date functions used in Excel: =TODAY() and =NOW()

Like all functions in Excel, entering date functions is very straightforward – just type in the function in the cell where you want the date or time to appear.

Computer Serial Date

There are no arguments to enter for the =TODAY() or =NOW() functions. Both of these date functions draw their data from the computer’s built-in clock. Computers store the date as a number representing the number of full days since midnight January 1, 1900 plus the number of hours, minutes, and seconds for the current day. This number is called a serial date.

=TODAY()

This function returns the current date. To display the date in a different format than the default:

  1. Click on Format > Cells in the menus to bring up the Format Cells dialog box.
  2. Click on the Number tab.
  3. Select Date in the Category window.
  4. Pick from the available formats in the Type window.

=NOW()

This function returns both the current date and time. To change the display to show just the date, follow the steps for the =TODAY() function above.

To change the display to show just the time:

  1. Click on Format > Cells in the menus to bring up the Format Cells dialog box.
  2. Click on the Number tab.
  3. Select Time in the Category window.
  4. Pick from the available formats in the Type window.

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