Excel timestamps allow us to track specific items (like investments, expenses, exercise schedules, etc) by entering the current time (and date). Once items have been timestamped in Excel, analyzing them becomes much easier.

Figure 1. Timestamps in Excel

Let’s assume that we want to easily input the current time and date, while generating an activity log. 

Or perhaps we want to automatically display the current time and date in a cell each time Excel formulas get recalculated; We can make use of the date and time stamp in Excel.

How to Create a Timestamp in Excel

An Excel timestamp is something we use when we want to track certain activities.

If we have to insert an Excel date and time stamp in some cells of our worksheet, doing so manually could be quicker and more efficient.

Here’s how to quickly enter the Excel Auto Date stamp by using the keyboard shortcut:

  1. Select the cell in which Excel should insert the timestamp (C2 below).
  2. Press this keyboard shortcut – CTRL+: (hold control and then tap the colon key);

Figure 2. Date Stamp in Excel

This will automatically insert the current Excel date stamp in the selected cell.


  • This keyboard shortcut will only create the current date stamp in Excel and not the Excel timestamp.
  • It is useful for when we wish to selectively input the current datestamp in Excel.
  • The Excel datestamp functions by obtaining the current calendar date from our system’s clock.
  • This operation is not dynamic; meaning that it is a timestamp in Excel that doesn’t change or refresh the next time we open our workbook. 

Once inserted, the Excel date stamp retains its static cell value.

How to do a Timestamp in Excel Using Formulas

If we want to enter an Excel auto date stamp, we can use the TODAY function.

Type =TODAY() inside the cell where we want it to appear;

Figure 3. Today Function in Excel

If we want both the Excel date and time stamp together in one cell, we can utilize the NOW function;


Figure 4. NOW Function in Excel