NOW Function – Google Sheets

The help text for the NOW function

The NOW function is a simple date function used to return the value of the current day and time. The result is dynamic so it updates when you change, refresh, or reopen the Google Sheet.

The NOW function returns the date and time. If you want just the date, use the TODAY function.

If the output doesn’t look like a date, apply Date formatting by going to the Format menu, choosing Number, then choosing Date time.

You can also insert the current date and time into a cell in Google Sheets using these shortcuts. However, the values inserted with these shortcuts will not update like the NOW function’s output.

  • Windows: ctl+alt+shift+;
  • Mac: ⌘+option+shift+;

Video Explanation

Purpose

The NOW function returns the value of the current day and time. As explained further in how to use dates and times in Google Sheets formulas, the value is an integer for the day plus a decimal for the time, but the spreadsheet will typically display it as a date and time to the user.

Syntax

=NOW()

Note that you need the parenthesis even though they are empty.

Similar Functions

TODAY – Returns the current day with no time.

Examples

Example 1 – Simple Usage

Firstly, let’s look at simple examples of the NOW function.

FormulaDescriptionResult
=NOW()Outputs the current date and time (not really “now” but what the date and time was when I updated this page.)9/20/2022 15:01:55
=NOW()+1Returns the same time with tomorrow’s date.9/21/2022 15:01:55

Example 2 – Calculating Elapsed Time

You may raise baby chickens in your backyard and be curious about the last time you fed them, which you use a spreadsheet to track. You used this formula on the afternoon of September 20, 2022.

 ABCD
1Last feeding dayLast feeding timeTime since last feeding – FormulaTime since last feed – Result
29/20/228:03 AM=NOW()-(A2+B2)8:37:51

The value in cell D2 is a duration instead of a time, and the Duration number formatting has been applied. Therefore, the result means 8 hours, 37 minutes, and 51 seconds instead of 8:37:51 AM or PM.

Example 3 – Six Months from Today

Now let’s get the date six months from today.

FormulaDescriptionResult
=EDATE(NOW(),6)Returns the date six months from now. Now is September 20, 2022, 4:35 pm.3/20/2023 00:00:00

The EDATE function takes a start_date argument and a months argument. With a start_date of today’s date and a months value of 6, EDATE returns a value six months into the future.

Notice that the EDATE function has removed the time value from the result of 3/20/2023. Therefore, using the TODAY function instead of the NOW function would return the same result since the TODAY function does not return a time.

Example 4 – Last Day of the Current Month

The NOW and EOMONTH functions can be used to find the last day of the current month.

FormulaDescriptionResult
=EOMONTH(NOW(),0)Returns the last day of the current month (which is September).9/30/2022 00:00:00

The EOMONTH function accepts start_date and number_of_months arguments and returns the last day of the month a given number_of_months away from its start value. In this case, we used the current date and time as the start value and specified 0 months away. Therefore, it returns the end of the current month.

As with the EDATE function in the previous example, the EOMONTH function removes the time. Using the TODAY function instead of the NOW function would produce the same result.

Live Examples in Sheets

Go to this spreadsheet for the examples of the NOW function shown above that you can study and use anywhere you would like.

13 thoughts on “NOW Function – Google Sheets”

  1. I don’t know why but, my date is wrong now it’s 12:00 14.May but in my sheet it’s 5/13/2020 21:01:04

    Reply
  2. Hey Adam,
    a short question if you don’t mind.

    =IF(AND(H1>TIMEVALUE(“07:00”),H1<TIMEVALUE("19:00")),"OPEN","CLOSED")
    I am using this function but it shows #ERROR!
    H1 is formate in time and has the following function =now(),

    What am I doing wrong?
    I want the computer to analyse the time (now) and tell me if its between the two times of 7:00 and 19:00. If true, "open" and if false, "closed"

    Please help me out

    Reply
    • Wew, I’m not really sure. The only way I got it to work was to put the now function in one cell, the timevalue(“7:00”) in one cell, and the timevalue(“19:00”) in a third cell. If I referenced those, the function worked. If I embedded them, I got an error.

      Reply
      • I have no idea why that formula does not work for Sahak but this might work instead >
        =IF(and(“07:00 am”>H1,”07:00 pm”<H1),"OPEN","CLOSED")

        Reply
  3. My Cromeboook shows the correct date & time but =NOW() in Google sheets gives a tie 4 hours in the future. I have checked the settings & it is correct for my time zone. Any ideas or is this a bug?

    Reply
      • Ok .. thanks for taking the time to consider it. I will just add minus four .. so it will be =now()-4 & hopefully that will be a good work-around.

        Reply
        • Nope – that does not work, it reduces the days by 4 but not the hours.

          This works better =now()-“4:00:00 AM” but I don’t not know if that is good for every hour of the day.

          Reply
  4. Hey! Do you know how to use the Now function for automated stock updates?

    I’ve tried this…. How can I connect “now” and “Googlefiance”?

    =NOW(GOOGLEFINANCE(“TICKER”))

    Thanks for helping everyone out!

    Reply
  5. Hello,
    to display the current hour and minutes I use this function:
    =HOUR(NOW())&”:”&MINUTE(NOW())
    The time should be displayed for example as: 08:01, but the leading 0 isn’t displayed I get 8:1 instead. Any solution for displaying the time with leading 0 (08:01) ?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Yeah, the TEXT function may get you where you want to do. Check that out. It let’s you customize the number of digits for certain number types including dates.

      Reply

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