Excel Time Functions

There are a number of ways to enter the current time in an Excel spreadsheet. Try this:

  • Click inside a blank cell on your spreadsheet
  • Click into the Formula Bar at the top
  • Type the following inbuilt function:
= Now( )

Hit the enter key, and you'll get the current date and time. If you only want the time, you can format the cell to get rid of the date part:

  • Click on the cell that contains your Now() function
  • From the Excel menu bar, click on Home
  • Locate the Number panel, and you may see Time already set (it might say Custom in newer versions of Excel):
The Time option on the Excel 2007 Number panel
  • Click the down arrow to see menu options
  • From the menu, click on Time
  • Click on More to see more Time options

Excel doesn't update the Time function every second, so it's not like a normal clock. But you can update the Now function to get the correct time. (Well, it's correct if your system clock is correct!)

The easiest way to update the Time in Excel is to click inside the cell that holds your Time formula. Then, from the Formulas menu, locate the Calculation panel.

Calculate Now in Excel 2007

Click the "Calculate Now" button, and Excel will update the time.

Excel also updates the time when you enter another calculation elsewhere in the spreadsheet. For example, click in any other cell on your spreadsheet. Now enter a simple formula like = 2 + 2. When you press the Enter key on your keyboard, Excel will update your time function as well.


To get some practise with using Times in Excel, try the Timetable Project in the next part. You'll also see a different way to enter the time.