Google Apps Script: NOW, TODAY
A colleague of mine had recently asked me if there was a way to automatically display the day’s date when a cell has data in it without having to use Google Apps Script.
My answer: “Why yes, there is Jim.”
There are two really cool tools that you can use in Google Sheets to get the current date or time and date:
The NOW formula provides a date and time stamp at the time of execution or when the NOW() function is entered into the sheet.
The TODAY formula provides just the date at the time of execution or when the TODAY() formula is entered into the sheet.
Change the date when a cell is edited
That’s all well and good but I want this formula to occur when a user enters something in a cell.
To achieve this, we can use an IF statement. First, we will state if the cell is empty, then no date should appear. However, if the cell has a value in it, then the date and/or time the value was entered will appear in the corresponding cell.
Here’s the formula:
=IF(A2 ="", "", TODAY()) <<Formula is celll D2
ِAs you can see in the IF statement we are saying; if there is nothing in cell A2 then don’t do anything, otherwise, if it contains a value then add today’s date in this cell, D2.
Now, if you want to have this ready for all rows for when a user adds to your data, then drag the formula all the way down to the bottom of the sheet.
Here is an example:
Ready to add some data? Here is what is would look like:
The NOW() and TODAY() functions are Dynamic. This means that they will update automatically. To keep these dates from changing, copy the cell and press <CTRL>+<SHIFT>+<V> or paste special> paste as value.
A Warning on NOW() and TODAY()
These two functions are Dynamic and will update constantly. If you are looking to get the date or time of something so that it does not update automatically then check out this tutorial :
Give it a try.Did you enjoy the tutorial? Want to upskill and get a solid step-by-step course to become a pro at Google Sheets? Check out my course, Google Sheets: Learn the Essentials with Three Detailed Projects. Sign up today.