Add the Current Date When Data is Added to a Cell(Dynamic) – Google Sheets

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.

NOW Google Sheets

The TODAY formula provides just the date at the time of execution or when the TODAY() formula is entered into the sheet.

TODAY Google Sheets

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:

IF value DATE Google Sheets

Ready to add some data? Here is what is would look like:

Current Date Added When Cell is Entered

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 :

Add the Current Date to a Sheet When Data Is Added So That The Date Does Not Change(Static) – Google Sheets

Give it a try.

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11 thoughts on “Add the Current Date When Data is Added to a Cell(Dynamic) – Google Sheets”

  1. I’m struggling to understand the usefulness of this solution, since the date will change every time you open the sheet or change any cell. If I open the sheet shown above on Wednesday, all the rows with values in column A would have Wednesday’s date in column D (the “Date Sent” column)… Then if I open the sheet again on Thursday, all the dates in column D would change to Thursday. How is this helpful at all for tracking the date that a cell was changed?

    It sounds like the following sentence:

    “…if the cell has a value in it, then the date and/or time THE VALUE WAS ENTERED will appear in the corresponding cell.”

    Would be more accurately stated as:

    “…if the cell has a value in it, then the date and/or time YOU ARE VIEWING THE SHEET will appear in the corresponding cell.”

    1. Hello James,

      I would agree that adding the current date in this example is not ideal. However, when a sheet creator is unable or unwilling to use Google Apps Script to provide a static date, then this is a reasonable alternative so long as they review each day and update the changed values. The colleague mentioned above tutorial would use a sheet they reviewed daily and would get the date they reviewed it along with the difference from the TODAY value and a static deadline. They would then copy and paste as “value” the entire sheet each day to update their sheet. They didn’t want anything more complicated than this. This is what I provided.

      It was interesting enough for me to use it as a lead-in post for: Add the Current Date to a Sheet When Data Is Added So That The Date Does Not Change(Static) – Google Sheets

      Using the dynamic dates NOW and TODAY are most useful as tools for comparing against a static date. I often use them in project management sheets to display a day’s remaining on a project, by subtracting the current date from today. Alternatively, I use it to display the following weeks’ date for a weekly deadline. For example:


  2. I’m trying to enter the formula =IF(A2 =””, “”, TODAY()), but it returns as an error. Has this functioned been fazed out?

    1. Hi Eric,

      No, it should work fine. I can’t see an error with your formula. What does your error say?


    1. Hi Carme 66,

      I am not sure what is causing this error your case. That should work fine. Have you tried to replicate the error on another Google Sheet?


    2. Old post I know, but for the benefit of anyone who may encounter this syntax error:
      Use “;” instead of “,”. Probably the comma is reserved for number depending on your locale.

      1. Hi Abbesatty,

        Thanks for pointing out the locale differences. I hadn’t it would influence the formula in that way.


  3. actually with the given formula, the date/time will change when data is entered or changed in any cell in the sheet… so the only benefit of the given formula is having an empty date/time when that particular cell is empty.

    1. Both TODAY() and NOW() are incredibly useful when comparing dates and time to the current time. I use them frequently in things like Gantt Charts, and billing sheets.

      Depending on your File > Settings > Calculation > Recalculation options that you have set for your Sheet, these options will change when a change occurs on the sheet, when the sheet it opened, or update at a scheduled interval.


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