The TODAY Date function in Google Sheets makes it easy to get the current date into your spreadsheet and, more importantly, into nested formulas. This is one of the most basic features of Google Sheets, but it can still be a bit confusing for newbies. If you’re in this crowd too, read on for easy step-by-step instructions to learn everything there is to know about the TODAY function in Google Sheets.
- 1 What Is Google Sheet TODAY Function?
- 2 Google Sheets TODAY Date Examples
- 3 Formatting the Current Date in Google Sheets
- 4 When Shouldn’t You Use Today in Sheets?
- 5 Similar Formulae to the TODAY Formula
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Wrapping Up
What Is Google Sheet TODAY Function?
The Google Sheets TODAY formula allows you to insert today’s date into your Google Sheets. Formulas are dynamic, so you don’t have to repeatedly type syntax into your spreadsheet. The dates are updated each time the spreadsheet is refreshed, reopened, or changed.
The formula for today’s date in Google Sheets is:
This function has no parameters and can be nested within another Google Sheets function.
You need to know a few things about the current date formula in Google Sheets these are:
- The TODAY formula is volatile and too many instances can negatively impact spreadsheet performance.
- The TODAY expression only gives the current date. No time is displayed. To do this, you should use the NOW function.
- Today shows the date the spreadsheet was opened or recalculated, not the date the formula was entered into the spreadsheet.
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Google Sheets TODAY Date Examples
Now that you know the basics of how today’s date works in Google Sheets, let’s look at some examples of formulas in action.
Google Sheets Get Current Date
You can use the TODAY formula to get today’s automatic date in Google Sheets. Here’s how the formula is used:
- Open Google Sheets and click the cell where you want to enter the formula.
- Enter the equal sign (=) to start the function.
- Enter the main part of the formula (TODAY() in this case.
- Since the function has no parameters, add a closing parenthesis to end the formula.
- Press Enter to run the formula.
Google Sheets Get Later/Earlier Date
In this example, we want to get the date 8 months after the current date. To do this, use a combination of the TODAY and EDATE functions. Let’s see how to do this:
- Click the cell where you want to enter the formula.
- Enter the first part of the EDATE expression (=EDATE(.
- Now enter TODAY() for the first parameter. There is no need to put an equal sign before the start of other expressions nested in the original expression.
- Add commas to separate parameters.
- Now add the second parameter. This defines the months to add or subtract from the date in the first parameter. In this case, we write the parameter as 8.
- Then type a closing parenthesis to end the formula and press Enter.
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Formatting the Current Date in Google Sheets
different regions have different date formats. The United States uses the mm/dd/yyyy format, while the rest of the world primarily uses the dd/mm/yyyy format. You can change the date format in your spreadsheet by following these steps:
- Select the cells containing the dates you want to format. A blue outline around the cell highlights this.
- Click Format on the main bar at the top. This will open a drop-down menu.
- Here, click on the “Numeric” option and click on “Custom date and time.
- A new window will open where you can set your own custom format. Select a format from the list or click the arrow inside the text box at the top of the window.
- a small menu shows various elements you can add to your date. In this example, we want the date to be in mm/dd/yyyy format. In the menu, first select “Month.
- Repeat the previous steps to add other elements of the date.
- After adding the date, you can also change the date display format. To do this, click on the specific element and select the desired display format. In this example, we want to display the month using the first three letters, so select the month option as the abbreviation.
- After making changes, click the green “Apply” button to save your changes.
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When Shouldn’t You Use Today in Sheets?
Because the TODAY function always returns the current date, calculations can go wrong, especially when using this formula to calculate the number of days between two separate dates. Alternatively, you can use DATEIF to find the number of days between two specific dates. For example, you can use DATEIF to calculate age.
Similar Formulae to the TODAY Formula
There are several other formulas you can use to get dates in Google Sheets. The DATE expression returns the specified date in yyyy/mm/dd format. You can use the DATEVALUE function to convert a string representation of a date to a value using the NOW function in Google Sheets
Let’s look at the syntax of these formulas.
You can convert day, month, and year to dates using the DATE formula in Sheets. The formula syntax is:
=DATE(year, month, day)
This expression uses three parameters, which are the three parts of the date. The input must be in numeric format and cannot be strings or cell references to strings.
A NOW formula in a sheet is essentially an extended version of the TODAY formula that can display the current time and date. The formula is:
Like the TODAY formula, this is also a volatile function that updates whenever changes are made to the spreadsheet.
If you’d like to add hours, check out our article on how to add hours in Google Sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Automatically Add Today’s Date in Google Sheets?
The TODAY formula makes it easy to add the current date to your spreadsheet. When I enter it in a cell, the formula becomes =TODAY().
What Is the Fastest Way to Enter Today’s Date on Google Sheets?
You can use the TODAY or NOW formulas to get today’s date on your spreadsheet. The TODAY function only shows the current date, while the NOW function shows the date and time. Both expressions have no parameters. However, since they are volatile, they affect the performance of your spreadsheet.
How Can I Get Today’s Date in mm/dd/yyyy Format?
to get the current date in mm/dd/yyyy format, enter the TODAY formula in a cell and press Enter to run it. Then click the cell and click Format on the main bar. Click Numeric, then click the Custom Date and Time button. This will open a window where you can create your own date and time format. Select the month, day and year format here and click the green “Apply” button to save your changes.
The above is pretty much everything you need to know to start using the TODAY date function in Google Sheets. Of course there are more complex nested functions available in TODAY, but the combinations are basically endless. If you have any specific questions, let us know in the comments. Alternatively, check out the related guides below for more information.