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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 11, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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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