Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Quickly Entering Dates and Times.

Quickly Entering Dates and Times

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 11, 2016)


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), which is really executed as Ctrl+Shift+;.

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 (12335) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel 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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What is five less than 8?

2016-06-13 03:16:21

Mark Vassallo

Excellent tip which I use all the time.

If you need the date AND time in the same cell you can combine the two shortcuts above and add a space in between.
e.g. Ctrl+; space Ctrl+Shift+;
The date and time in this cell can then be used in calculations.
The value entered will be static and will be fixed at the time it is entered.

2016-06-12 03:26:45

Peter Moran


Clifton - Static

Interesting approach to Dates and Times in the following URL:

2016-06-11 12:33:10


Are the date and time entered this way in a formula static or dynamic?

2016-06-11 12:03:26

Marcel Beugelsdijk

It should be noted that time will be truncated to hh:mm when using Ctrl+Shift+; (or Ctrl+:).

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