Getting the current date into spreadsheets, and more importantly, within nested formulas, is a breeze with the Google Sheets TODAY Date function. This is one of the most basic functions in Google Sheets, but may still be a little confusing for beginners. If you’re among this crowd, read on to learn everything you need to know about the TODAY function in Google Sheets with simple step-by-step instructions.
Table of Contents
What Is Google Sheet TODAY Function?
The TODAY formula in Google Sheets allows you to insert today’s date in Google Sheets. The formula is dynamic, so you don’t have to enter the syntax repeatedly into your spreadsheet. The date updates every time you refresh, reopen, or make changes to the spreadsheet.
Here is the formula for TODAY’s date in Google Sheets:
The function has no parameters and can be nested into another Google Sheets function.
You should know a few things about the Google Sheet current date formula. These are:
- The TODAY formula is volatile and can hurt the performance of the spreadsheet if there are too many instances.
- The TODAY formula only provides the current date. It does not show the time. To do this, you will have to use the NOW function.
- Today will show the date the spreadsheet was opened or recalculated rather than when the formula was entered into the spreadsheet.
Google Sheets TODAY Date Examples
Now that we know the basic working of TODAY’s date in Google Sheets, let’s look at some examples of the formula in action.
Google Sheets Get Current Date
You can use the TODAY formula to get Google Sheets’ automatic date for the current day. Here is how to use the formula:
- Open Google Sheets and click on the cell where you wish to input the formula.
- Input an Equals (=) sign to start the function.
- Enter the main part of the formula, which is TODAY( in this case.
- As the function has no parameters, add a closing bracket to finish the formula.
- Press the Enter key to execute the formula.
Google Sheets Get Later/Earlier Date
In this example, we wish to get a date eight months later than the current date. You can do this using a combination of the TODAY and the EDATE function. Let’s take a look at how to do this:
- Click on the cell where you wish to enter the formula.
- Enter the initial part of the EDATE formula, which is =EDATE(.
- Now, for the first parameter, we will input TODAY(). There is no need to put an equal sign before the start of any other formulas that are nested into the original formula.
- Add a comma to separate the parameters.
- Now, add the second parameter, which defines the months you want to add or subtract from the date in the first parameter. In this case, we write the parameter as 8.
- Now, enter a closing bracket to finish the formula and press Enter.
Formatting the Current Date in Google Sheets
Different regions have different ways of formatting the dates. In the United States, the mm/dd/yyyy format is used, while the rest of the world’s countries mainly use the dd/mm/yyyy format. You can change how the dates are formatted in Sheets by following these steps:
- Select the cell containing the date you wish to format. The blue outline around the cell will highlight this.
- Click on Format in the main bar at the top. This will open a dropdown menu.
- Here, click on the Number option and then click on Custom date and time.
- A new window will open, allowing you to set your own custom format. Select a format from the list or click on the arrow in the textbox towards the top of the window.
- A smaller menu will show the various elements you can add to the date. In this example, we want our date to be in the mm/dd/yyyy format. In the menu, we select Month first.
- Repeat the previous step to add the other elements of the date.
- After adding the dates, you can also change the format in which the dates are displayed. To do this, click on the specific element and choose the desired display format. In this example, we wish to display the month using the first three letters, which is why we will choose the Month as abbreviation option.
- After making the changes, click on the green Apply button to save the changes.
When Shouldn’t You Use Today in Sheets?
TODAY function will always return the current date, which can throw off the calculations, especially if you’re using this formula to calculate the number of days between two separate dates. Instead, you can use DATEIF to find the number of days between two specific dates. For example, you could use DATEIF to calculate age.
Similar Formulae to the TODAY Formula
There are a few other formulae that you can use to get the dates in Google Sheets. The DATE formula will return a given date in the yyyy/mm/dd format. You can use the DATEVALUE function to convert a date in string format into a value. You can also use the NOW function in Google Sheets to
Let’s take a look at the syntax for these formulas.
The DATE formula in Sheets can convert a day, month, and year into a date. Here is the syntax for the formula:
=DATE(year, month, day)
The formula uses three parameters, which are the three components of a date. The input must be in number format and can not be a string or a cell reference to a string.
The NOW formula in sheets is essentially an enhanced version of the TODAY formula, which can display the current time and date. The formula is:
Similar to the TODAY formula, it is also a volatile function that will be updated every time a change is made to the spreadsheet.
If you’re looking to add time, check out our article on how to add time in Google Sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Automatically Add Today’s Date in Google Sheets?
Using the TODAY formula, you can easily add the current date to your spreadsheet. When entered into a cell, the formula will be =TODAY().
What Is the Fastest Way to Enter Today’s Date on Google Sheets?
You can get the current day’s date on your spreadsheet using the TODAY or NOW formula. The TODAY function will only display the current date, while the NOW function will display the date and time. Both formulas do not have any parameters. However, they are volatile, which will affect your spreadsheet’s performance.
How Can I Get Today’s Date in mm/dd/yyyy Format?
To get the current date in the mm/dd/yyyy format, enter the TODAY formula into a cell and press Enter to execute it. Then, click on the cell and click on Format in the main bar. Click on Number and then the Custom date and time button. This will open a window where you can create your own date and time format. Select the Month, Date, Year format here and click on the green Apply button to save the changes.
Above is pretty much everything you need to know to get started using the Google Sheets TODAY Date function. There are of course more complicated nested functions that you can use TODAY with but those combinations is essentially endless. Let us know in the comments if you have any specific questions. Or, check out our related guides below to learn more.