NOW Function

Basic Description

The Excel Now function returns the current date and time. The function has no arguments and therefore, the syntax of the function is: NOW()

The NOW function updates every time your Excel worksheet is refreshed, and so any cells containing the function will be continually changing.

 

Now Function Examples

Example 1

The following example shows a simple use of the NOW function, run at 1700 hrs on 28th December 2012

 Formula:
A
1 =NOW()
 Result:
A
1 28-Dec-2014 17:00

 

Example 2

The following example shows use of the NOW function, combined with the If function, to highlight when an appointment is due. The function format is shown in the upper spreadsheet and the results, at 2 different times, are shown in the two spreadsheets below.

 Formula:
A B
1 Appointment Time: 28-Dec-2014 17:30
2 Current Date & Time: =NOW( )
3 =IF( B1-B2 < 1/24, “!!! Due within 1 hr !!!”, “Not yet due” )
 Result at 1600 hrs on 28th Dec 2014:
A B
1 Appointment Time: 28-Dec-2014 17:30
2 Current Date & Time: 28-Dec-2014 16:00
3 Not yet due
 Result at 1700 hrs on 28th Dec 2014:
A B
1 Appointment Time: 28-Dec-2014 17:30
2 Current Date & Time: 28-Dec-2014 17:00
3 !!! Due within 1 hr !!!

 

In the above example, the current time (returned by the NOW function) is subtracted from the appointment time and the result is compared against 1 hour (=1/24). If the current time is less than 1 hour from the appointment time, the alert is shown; otherwise the text “Not yet due” is shown in cell C1. The contents of cell C1 have also been formatted to have red text, to make the alert stand out more.

Note that:

  • The above alert formula could be made more sophisticated by adding more conditions to the IF function, to highlight when the appointment time has been passed, etc.
  • The above appointment alert will only work if your spreadsheet is being continually updated. While the spreadsheet is unused, the contents of cell C1 will stay the same as at the last evaluation.

     

 

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