Google Sheets

How to Use the TODAY Function in Google Sheets: A Beginner’s Guide


Google Sheets is a powerful tool that helps us organize and analyze data. One of its most handy functions is the TODAY function. This function allows you to display the current date in a cell, which can be incredibly useful in various situations. In this article, we’ll break down what the TODAY function is, when and how to use it, its syntax, and answer some common questions you might have.

When to Use the TODAY Function

The TODAY function comes in handy when you need to track dates or perform calculations based on the current date. For example, if you’re managing a schedule or keeping tabs on time-sensitive tasks, the TODAY function can be your best friend.

How to use TODAY function in Google Sheets

  1. Type “=TODAY” or go to the “Insert” tab ➝ “Function” ➝ “Date” ➝ “TODAY”.
How To Use TODAY Function In Google Sheets
How To Use TODAY Function In Google Sheets




Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet & Select a Cell and Enter the Function

Open Your Google Sheet & Select A Cell And Enter The Function
Open Your Google Sheet & Select A Cell And Enter The Function

Step 2: Press Enter: Hit the Enter key to apply the function

Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function
Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function

Tips for Optimization

The TODAY function in Google Sheets is used to return the current date. It updates automatically whenever the spreadsheet recalculates, so it always shows the current date. Here are some tips for optimizing the use of the TODAY function:

  1. Basic Usage:
    • The TODAY function is straightforward to use. Simply type =TODAY() in a cell, and it will display the current date.
  2. Formatting:
    • You can format the cell to display the date in a way that suits your needs. Right-click on the cell(s) with the TODAY function, select “Format cells”, and choose the desired date format.
  3. Freezing the Value:
    • If you want to keep a record of the date, you can copy and “Paste Special” > “Values only” to convert the formula result into a static date.
  4. Dynamic Date Calculations:
    • Combine TODAY with other functions for dynamic date calculations. For example, to calculate the number of days between two dates, you can use =TODAY()-A1, assuming A1 contains a date.
  5. Using in Conditional Formatting:
    • You can use the TODAY function in conditional formatting rules to automatically highlight cells that are due today or within a certain time frame.
  6. Using with IF Function:
    • Combine TODAY with the IF function for conditional logic. For example, you can set up a rule that says “If the due date is today, show ‘Due Today’, otherwise show ‘Not Due Yet'”.
  7. Using in Data Validation:
    • You can set up data validation rules that restrict users to enter dates only in the future or dates within a specific range based on the current date using TODAY.
  8. Automating Reports:
    • If you have reports that need to be updated with the current date every day, you can use the TODAY function in conjunction with Google Sheets scripts to automate this process.
  9. Avoid Overuse:
    • While TODAY is a useful function, avoid overusing it in large datasets or complex calculations. Excessive use of volatile functions like TODAY can slow down spreadsheet performance.
  10. Handling Time Zones:
    • Remember that the TODAY function is dependent on the time zone setting of your Google Sheets. If you’re working with people in different time zones, ensure that everyone is using the same setting.
  11. Using Array Formulas:
    • If you want to apply the TODAY function across a range of cells, you can use an array formula. For example, =ARRAYFORMULA(TODAY()) will fill the range with the current date.
  12. Testing and Validation:
    • Test your formulas with different dates to ensure they are working as expected, especially if you’re using TODAY in complex calculations.

Real-World Application

The TODAY function in Google Sheets finds its application in a wide range of real-world scenarios. Here are some practical examples of how the TODAY function can be used:

  1. Project Deadlines and Task Management:
    • When managing projects, it’s crucial to keep track of deadlines. By using the TODAY function, you can automatically generate the current date, making it easier to monitor progress and ensure tasks are completed on time.
  2. Expense Tracking:
    • For personal finance or business purposes, you might want to keep a record of daily expenses. The TODAY function can be used to automatically timestamp each entry, providing a clear record of when each expense was incurred.
  3. Employee Attendance and Leave Records:
    • In HR management, it’s important to maintain accurate records of employee attendance. By combining the TODAY function with other formulas, you can create a system that automatically logs the current date when an employee checks in.
  4. Inventory Management:
    • When dealing with perishable goods or time-sensitive inventory, knowing the current date is crucial. The TODAY function can help you keep track of stock levels and identify items that may be nearing their expiration date.
  5. Event Planning and RSVPs:
    • When organizing events, you might want to create a countdown to the event date. The TODAY function allows you to dynamically update the remaining days until the event, ensuring everyone is aware of when it’s happening.
  6. Birthdays and Anniversaries:
    • Remembering important dates can be a challenge. By using the TODAY function in conjunction with conditional formatting, you can set up alerts or reminders for upcoming birthdays or anniversaries.
  7. Loan and Mortgage Calculations:
    • When dealing with loans or mortgages, knowing the current date is essential for calculating interest. The TODAY function can be used to ensure accurate calculations based on the current date.
  8. Sales and Revenue Tracking:
    • For businesses, tracking daily sales and revenue is crucial for performance analysis. The TODAY function can be used to automatically timestamp each sale, allowing for easy tracking and analysis.
  9. Classroom Attendance for Teachers:
    • Teachers can use Google Sheets to track student attendance. By incorporating the TODAY function, they can easily mark the current date when recording attendance, saving time and reducing manual entry errors.
  10. Fitness and Health Tracking:
    • If you’re maintaining a fitness or health log, the TODAY function can help you automatically record the date of each entry. This is especially useful for tracking progress over time.


In this article, we’ve learned about the TODAY function in Google Sheets. We’ve seen when it’s most useful, its simple syntax, and how to use it effectively. By mastering this function, you’ll be able to keep track of dates and perform calculations based on the current date. Whether you’re managing a schedule or tracking deadlines, the TODAY function will be your trusty companion in Google Sheets.


Q: Can I change the format of the date?
A: Yes, you can! Google Sheets allows you to format the date in various ways. Right-click on the cell, select Format cells, and choose the date format that suits you best.
Q: Does the TODAY function work offline?

A: No, the TODAY function requires an internet connection because it fetches the current date from Google’s servers.

Q: Can I use the TODAY function in other functions?
A: Absolutely! You can use the result of the TODAY function in other calculations. For instance, you can calculate the difference between two dates using simple arithmetic.
Q: How can I freeze the date so it doesn’t update every time I open the sheet?
A: If you want to fix the date and prevent it from updating, you’ll need to use a combination of functions like TODAY() and Copy and Paste Special as values.

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