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: Quickly Entering Dates and Times.

Quickly Entering Dates and Times

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 27, 2015)

If you are looking for a quick way to enter the current date or time into a cell, Excel provides an excellent shortcut. To enter the current date, just select a cell and press Ctrl+; (that's the semicolon). Closely akin to that is entering the time, which is done by using Ctrl+: (that's the colon).

These shortcuts work even when you are entering formulas. For instance, let's say you wanted to have today's date as a string (within quote marks) in a formula. All you need to do is enter your formula, up to the first quote mark. Then type Ctrl+; and the date appears in the formula. Type your closing quote mark, and you can continue with your formula.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2178) 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: Quickly Entering Dates and Times.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

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