Use Shortcut Keys to Add the Current Date/Time in Excel

Screenshot/Microsoft Excel

You can quickly add the current date to Excel using shortcut keys on the keyboard.

In addition to being fast, when the date is added using this method it does not change every time the worksheet is opened like it does with some of Excel's date functions.

Adding the Current Date in Excel Using Short Cut Keys

Use shortcut keys to enter the current date

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To have the date update every time the worksheet is opened, use the TODAY function.

The key combination for adding the date is:

Ctrl + ; (semi-colon key) 

Example: Using Shortcut Keys to Add the Current Date

To add the current date to a worksheet using just the keyboard:

  1. Click on the cell where you want the date to go.
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard.
  3. Press and release the semi-colon key ( ; ) on the keyboard without releasing the Ctrl key.
  4. Release the Ctrl key.
  5. The current date should be added to the worksheet in the selected cell.

The default format for the date entered is the short date format as shown in the image above. Use another keyboard shortcut to change the format to the day-month-year format.

Add the Current Time using Shortcut Keys

Add the current time in Excel with shortcut keys

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Although not as commonly used as dates in spreadsheets, adding the current time with this keyboard shortcut can be used, among other things, as a time stamp - since it does not change one entered - can be entered with the following  key combination:

Ctrl + Shift + : (colon key) 

Example: Using Shortcut Keys to Add the Current Time

To add the current time to a worksheet using just the keyboard:

  1. Click on the cell where you want the time to go.
    Press and hold down the Ctrl and the Shift keys on the keyboard.
  2. Press and release the colon key ( : ) on the keyboard without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  3. The current time will be added to the worksheet.

To have the time update every time the worksheet is opened, use the NOW function.

Formatting Dates in Excel with Shortcut Keys

Format dates in Excel using shortcut keys

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This Excel tip shows you how to quickly format dates using the day -month - year format (such as 01-Jan-14) in an Excel worksheet using shortcut keys on the keyboard.

The key combination for formatting dates is:

Ctrl + Shift + # (hash tag or number sign key) 

Example: Formatting the Date using Shortcut Keys

  1. Add the date to a cell in a worksheet.
  2. If necessary, click on the cell to make it the active cell.
  3. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard.
  4. Press and release the hashtag key ( # ) on the keyboard without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  5. Release the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  6. The date will be formatted in the day-month-year format as shown in the image above.

Formatting Times in Excel with Shortcut Keys

Format the time in Excel using shortcut keys

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This Excel tip shows you how to quickly format times in an Excel worksheet using shortcut keys on the keyboard.

  • Times are formatted with the hour : minute : second and AM/PM format (such as 10:33:00 AM)

The key combination for formatting times is:

Ctrl + Shift + @ (at symbol) 

Formatting the Current Time using Shortcut Keys

  1. Add the time to a cell in a worksheet.
  2. If necessary, click on the cell to make it the active cell.
  3. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard.
  4. Press and release the hash tag key ( @ ) on the keyboard - located above the number 2 -  without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  5. Release the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  6. The time will be formatted to show the current time in the hour : minute and AM/PM format as seen in the image above.