NOW Function in Excel

Now is an excel date function which is used to show the present system date and time in a excel worksheet, this function does not take any arguments and it gives only the system date time on the system which the function is being used, the method to use this function is pretty easy, it is as follows =NOW().

NOW Function in Excel

NOW function in Excel is categorized as Date/Time Function that returns the current system date and time. NOW Excel function in the Date/Time category enables us to analyze and work with date and time values in formulas.

NOW Formula in Excel

Now Formula

NOW function in excel doesn’t take any argument. The value returned by the NOW Excel function is a serial number representing a particular date and time in Excel.

NOW function in Excel also belongs to a special class of function called Volatile functions. NOW function Excel recalculates a volatile function whenever it recalculates the workbook, even if the formula that contains the function is not involved in the recalculation.

The NOW Excel function represents an example of a volatile function because =now() excel recalculates the current date-time every time Excel calculates the worksheet. Other volatile functions include

As a side effect of using these volatile functions, NOW Function Excel always prompts you to save the workbook when you close it, even if you made no changes to it. For  NOW Function Excel example, if you open a workbook that contains any of these volatile functions, scroll around a bit (but don’t change anything), and then close the file. Excel asks whether you want to save the workbook.

You can circumvent this behavior by using the Manual Recalculation mode, with the Recalculate before save option turned off. Change the recalculation mode in the Calculate section of the Formulas tab in the  NOW Function Excel Options dialog box (choose File->Options).

The NOW Excel function is updated whenever the worksheet is calculated. For example, if you enter either of the preceding formulas into a worksheet, the formula of  NOW Function in Excel displays the current date-time. When you open the workbook tomorrow, though, =now() will display the current date-time for that a day and a particular time. If we save the workbook containing NOW function excel and open it after 5 days, =now() excel will automatically show the current date of that day and the time at that particular instant of time without any change to the formula.

Displaying the Current Time

NOW formula in Excel displays the current time as a time serial number (or a serial number without an associated date):


If we want the static time in Excel, since the NOW in excel and dynamically changes the date-time value whenever the worksheet is refreshed, we can use the shortcut ctrl+Shift+ :  to enter the current time.

How to Use Now Function in Excel

NOW in excel is very useful when we deal with date and time. NOW Excel function is very simple and easy to use. Let us understand the working of =now() excel by some NOW Function examples.

You can download this NOW Function Excel Template here – NOW Function Excel Template

Now Function in Excel Example #1

The United States is divided into various time zones depending upon the geographical demographics.  The main time zones are

  • Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST)
  • Central Standard Time Zone (CST)
  • Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST)
  • Pacific Standard Time Zone (PST)

In the cell, we have the current time in the IST zone represented using the NOW formula in Excel

=NOW() Excel with a format as Time

Now Formula 1

Now, we need to write a NOW formula in Excel to convert IST into 4 time zones

For EST,

Indian Standard Time is 9 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Eastern Time; use the following NOW formula in Excel


For CST,

Indian Standard Time is 10 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Central Time, use the following NOW formula in Excel


For MST,

Indian Standard Time is 11 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Mountain Time; use the following NOW formula in Excel


For PST,

Indian Standard Time is 12 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Pacific Time; use the following NOW formula in Excel


Now Formula 2


Now Excel Example

We have used the TIME function along with the NOW function excel that helps to converts hours, minutes, and seconds given as a number to an Excel serial number, formatted with a time format. For the formatting in all cases, we have used TIME as the format.

NOW Function in Excel Example #2

We have a list of festivals and their upcoming date of the occasion; we need to find the number of days left for the occasion.

Now Excel 1

So, the NOW formula in Excel we will use is


That is, we will calculate the difference of the dates and will add the remainder divided by 24 to get a day and will convert into an integer value using the INT function.

So, applying the NOW formula in Excel to other cells, we have the output,

Now Excel Example 2

Now Excel Example 3

NOW Function in Excel Example #3

If a car starts at point A with a speed of 5 meters per second and travels a distance of 10 km to reach a destination at B. We need to calculate the time when we will reach point B when the driver starts his journey at the current time.

Now Excel Example 4

Now Excel Example 6

Now Excel Example 5

We know Speed = Distance/Time,

We have Speed and distance so, time to reach (in seconds) point B will be Distance/Speed.

The Time when the driver reaches the point will be given by the NOW formula in Excel.


Where the values B4/B3 calculates the time taken in seconds to reach point B and pass this =now() excel value as seconds to the TIME function.

So, the output is NOW Function in Excel.

Now Excel Example 7

So, the vehicle will reach point B at the time 04:26:55 AM when it starts at the current time.

Things to Remember About the NOW

  • NOW in excel is a volatile function and will update every time when a recalculation is done.
  • As NOW in excel is a volatile function, =now() excel can effect on the processing speed of your calculation.
  • NOW in excel enters a valid serial number of the current date & time as per excel’s date & time system.
  • When you enter the NOW function in a cell, it will convert the format of the cell into a custom format (m/d/yyyy h:mm).
  • To enter a static current date & time you can use keyboard shortcut key CTRL + SHIFT + : (Current Time) & CTRL + : (Current Date) to enter current date.

NOW Function In Excel Video

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to NOW Excel Function. Here we discuss the NOW Formula in excel and how to use NOW in Excel along with excel NOW Function example and downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –

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