Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.
With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
Learn more about Allen...
Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Recording a Data Entry Time.
Vinay uses an Excel worksheet for data entry. Information is entered in column A and Vinay would like to have a way to automatically add a time into column B, adjacent to the value entered in column A, that indicates when the value was entered.
There are several different ways you can accomplish this task. The first is to manually enter a time by selecting the adjacent cell in column B and pressing Ctrl+Shift+; (that's the semicolon). This shortcut enters the current time in the cell. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it isn't automatic and it takes some extra movement and keystrokes to implement.
A better approach would be to use a formula to enter the time. The NOW function returns the current date and time, and you can use it in a cell in this manner:
Of course, this simple formula is updated every time the worksheet recalculates. That means that the function returns the current time every time you enter a value in column A. This is undesirable because you don't want previous times to update. You could try to use a formula to check to see if something is in column A, as in this manner:
The problem is that a formula like this introduces a circular reference into the worksheet, which presents a whole host of challenges to work with. A better approach is to create a macro that automatically runs every time something is entered in column A. Right-click on the tab of the worksheet used for data entry and choose View Code from the Context menu. You'll see the Code window for the worksheet in the Visual Basic Editor, and then enter this into the window:
Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Excel.Range) Dim rCell As Range Dim rChange As Range On Error GoTo ErrHandler Set rChange = Intersect(Target, Range("A:A")) If Not rChange Is Nothing Then Application.EnableEvents = False For Each rCell In rChange If rCell > "" Then With rCell.Offset(0, 1) .Value = Now .NumberFormat = "hh:mm:ss" End With Else rCell.Offset(0, 1).Clear End If Next End If ExitHandler: Set rCell = Nothing Set rChange = Nothing Application.EnableEvents = True Exit Sub ErrHandler: MsgBox Err.Description Resume ExitHandler End Sub
With the macro in place, anytime you enter something into a cell in column A, the adjacent cell in column B will contain the date and time (formatted to show only the time). If you delete something in column A, then the adjacent cell in column B is cleared, as well.
Note, as well, that you can change the setting for the NumberFormat property to reflect how you want the date to appear. As an example, you could change to a twelve-hour time format by changing "hh:mm:ss" to "h:mm:ss AM/PM".
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3116) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Recording a Data Entry Time.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!