Lesson 38 - Excel Function Now/Today Formulas

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# EXCEL NOW & TODAY FUNCTIONS/FORMULAS

## Lesson 38 - TODAY & NOW Functions/Formulas. Excel Volatile Functions. Level 1 Free Training

### TWO OTHER USEFUL FUNCTIONS

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### Gallery

There are two other very useful Functions in Excel that take no arguments at all. These are the **TODAY** function and the **NOW** function. The **TODAY** Function will return the current date, while the **NOW** Function will return the current date and time. These can be very useful for a spreadsheet that requires having the current date and/or time. These functions are a bit different than most other Excel Functions in two ways.

- They Are What's Known As Volatile.
- They Take No Arguments.

**Volatile**

When the term **volatile** is applied to an Excel Function it means that the Function is recalculated whenever Excel calculates. To understand this we need to know how, or rather when, a normal Function in Excel calculates. Most Functions in Excel will recalculate whenever any cell on which they are dependent changes. By this we mean if we have the function **=SUM(A1:A10)** in a cell and we changed the value of any cell within the range **A1:A10** our **SUM** function will recalculate to reflect the change. If there was another formula in a cell that was referencing **B1:B10** then it would **not** recalculate if we changed a cell within the range **A1:A10**. A volatile Function on the other hand, will recalculate whenever **any** formula within the entire Workbook recalculates, regardless of cell references. A workbook will also recalculate whenever we **open** or **save**. **No Arguments**

As you are now aware, most of Excels Functions take at least one argument and others take up to 30 arguments. The **TODAY** and the **NOW** Function can take no arguments at all. What this means to the user is we simply add them to a spreadsheet like:

**=TODAY()**

**=NOW()**

In other words we enter them with empty parenthesis. As an alternative to these Functions, if you only need the current date or time then you can these shortcut keys:

**Enter the date CTRL+; (SEMICOLON)**

**Enter the time CTRL+SHIFT+: (COLON)**

This will enter the date or time as a static value. In other words they will not update, unlike **TODAY** and **NOW**. If you are creating a spreadsheet, try not to use too many volatile Functions as this can slow down recalculation. As an alternative, using the **NOW** Function as an example, you could place the function into a cell somewhere and then reference that cell with a simple reference like: **=A1**.

We can also control the way Excel calculates by going to **Tools>Options** and selecting the **Calculation** tab. Having said this though be very careful when doing this as you can easily inadvertently feed yourself false information. This is particularly true with the option **Precision as displayed**. My advice is to only change from **automatic calculation** if you really need to and then only if you are fully aware of the consequences

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