Formulas > =NOW()

How To Use NOW() Function in Google Sheets


Returns the current date and time as a date value.

What are the common questions about the NOW formula?
How does the NOW formula work?
Can the NOW formula be customized to display only the date or time?
Does the NOW formula update automatically?
Can the NOW formula be used in a specific time zone?
How can the NOW formula be used appropriately?
Display the current date and time in a cell: By entering "=NOW()" in a cell, the current date and time will be displayed. The value will update automatically whenever the sheet recalculates.
Track the timestamp of an event: Use the NOW formula in a cell to capture the current timestamp when an event occurs, such as when data is entered in a specific cell or when a condition is met.

How can the NOW formula be commonly mistyped?
Typing "NOW" in lowercase: The formula should be written in uppercase letters as "=NOW()" to function correctly.
Misspelling or using incorrect syntax: The formula must be written precisely as "=NOW()", with no extra spaces or characters.

What are some common ways the NOW formula is used inappropriately?
Using the NOW formula in a large number of cells: Since the NOW formula updates automatically, using it in numerous cells can lead to excessive calculations, which may slow down the sheet's performance.
Comparing the NOW formula with a static value: The NOW formula updates continuously, so using it in a comparison with a fixed value might not produce the desired results.

What are some common pitfalls when using the NOW formula?
Frequent recalculation: If the sheet recalculates too frequently (e.g., due to volatile functions or automatic settings), the NOW formula may update too often, making it difficult to track specific timestamps accurately.
Time zone inconsistencies: The NOW formula retrieves the current date and time based on the time zone set in your Google Sheets settings. Ensure that the time zone is correctly configured to obtain accurate results.

What are common mistakes when using the NOW formula?
Forgetting to lock the NOW formula: If you want to capture a timestamp that doesn't change automatically, you need to "freeze" the value by copying and pasting the cell's value or using other techniques like the Paste Special feature.
Not adjusting the time zone: If you're collaborating with people in different time zones or need to match a specific time zone, it's important to adjust the time zone settings accordingly.

What are common misconceptions people might have with the NOW formula?
Expecting the NOW formula to update continuously in real-time: The NOW formula updates only when the sheet recalculates, which may not occur in real-time. It depends on the sheet's settings and the actions being performed in the sheet.
Assuming the NOW formula includes the current time down to milliseconds: The NOW formula provides the current date and time accurate to the second but doesn't include milliseconds.

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How To Actually Use NOW() in Sheets


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Learn more about the NOW() formula:

Google Sheets – Using Dates and Times in Formulas

Dates and times need to be treated differently than plain numbers when using formulas in Google Sheets. There are three different ways that you can work with them to get the results that you want.

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