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A timestamp or datestamp records the time and/or date when an event occurred. There are many reasons why you may need to add a time or date stamp in Google Sheets. Sometimes, you need a static timestamp to keep track of changes to cells or task completion. However, if you want to use a timestamp in the header of your spreadsheet’s print area, a dynamic time or date stamp will update every time you print a hard copy or a PDF.

In this guide, you will learn three ways to insert time and date stamps in Google Sheets: how to add static timestamps using keyboard shortcuts, how to add dynamic timestamps using functions, and how to add static timestamps using functions and then copying the cell & pasting only the values.

Insert a Timestamp in Google Sheets Using Shortcuts

There are three different keyboard shortcuts you can use to insert the current time, date, or date and time. Below, you have the keyboard shortcuts you can use in Windows and Mac to insert each of the three stamps.

Insert Current Time Shortcut

To insert the current time, select the cell where you want the timestamp and use the shortcut below.

  • Windows: Ctrl + Shift + ;
  • Mac: Cmd + Shift + ;

Insert Current Date Shortcut

Select the cell where you want the date stamp and use the shortcut below.

  • Windows: Ctrl + ;
  • Mac: Cmd + ;

Insert Current Date & Time Shortcut

To insert a stamp with both the current date and time, select the cell where you want it and use the shortcut below.

  • Windows: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + ;
  • Mac: Cmd + Option + Shift + ;
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Insert Time Date Stamps Using Shortcuts
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Insert Time & Date Stamps Using Shortcuts

Insert a Timestamp in Google Sheets Using Formulas

The TODAY() function in Google Sheets retrieves the date at the moment it is executed, while the NOW() function retrieves the date and time. This makes them volatile functions, as the result will change every time your spreadsheet’s functions are recalculated.

Below, you have step-by-step instructions on how to use TODAY() and NOW() to get dynamic date and time stamps. You also have step-by-step instructions on combining these functions with TEXT to create static time and date stamps.

Insert a Dynamic Timestamp in Google Sheets

Follow the steps below to create dynamic stamps with the date or the date and time.

Dynamic Date Stamp

  1. 1. In an empty cell, type the equal sign followed by TODAY(). The function takes no parameters, so there should be nothing between the parentheses.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways TODAY Function
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - TODAY() Function
  1. 2. Press ‘Enter’ to see the result.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Dynamic Date Stamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Dynamic Date Stamp

Dynamic Date & Time Stamp

  1. 1. Type the equal sign followed by NOW() in an empty cell. The parentheses should be empty, as the function doesn't take any parameters.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways NOW Function
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - NOW() Function
  1. 2. Press ‘Enter’ to see the result.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Dynamic Date Time Stamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Dynamic Date & Time Stamp

Insert a Static Timestamp in Google Sheets

To insert a static time or date stamp in Google Sheets using functions, you must combine the TEXT function with TODAY() or NOW(). After combining the functions, you must copy the cell with the formula and paste only the values to keep the stamp static. However, you can create a macro or a script using Google Apps Script to automate this process.

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Static Date Stamp

Follow the steps below to insert a static date stamp using a formula.

  1. 1. In an empty cell, type the equal sign followed by the TEXT function.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add TEXT Function
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add TEXT Function
  1. 2. Type the TODAY() function as the first parameter, remembering to include the empty parentheses.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add TODAY Function
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add TODAY() Function
  1. 3. Add a comma before adding the second parameter, which specifies the format for the date. To achieve the same result as with the keyboard shortcut, use the following format: “m/d/yyyy”.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Specify Date Format
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Specify Date Format
  1. 4. Close the parenthesis and press ‘Enter’ to see the result.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Date Stamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Date Stamp
  1. 5. To keep the date stamp static, copy and paste the cell using the ‘Paste values only’ option.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp

Static Date & Time Stamp

Follow the steps below to insert a static date & time stamp using a formula.

  1. 1. In the cell where you want the stamp, type the equal sign followed by the TEXT function.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add TEXT Function 2
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add TEXT Function
  1. 2. Type the NOW() function as the first parameter, remembering to include the empty parentheses.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add NOW Function 2
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add NOW() Function
  1. 3. Add a comma, the specify the format for the date and time. To achieve the same result as with the keyboard shortcut, use the following format: “m/d/yyyy hh:mm:ss”.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Specify Date Time Format
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Specify Date & Time Format
  1. 4. Close the parenthesis and press ‘Enter’ to see the result.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Date Time Stamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Date & Time Stamp
  1. 5. To keep the date stamp static, copy and paste the cell using the ‘Paste values only’ option.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp 2
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp
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Static Time Stamp

Finally, you can also use the NOW() function to insert a static stamp that only includes the time.

  1. 1. In the cell where you want the timestamp, type the equal sign followed by the TEXT function.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add TEXT Function 3
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add TEXT Function
  1. 2. Type the NOW() function as the first parameter, remembering to include the empty parentheses.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Add NOW Function 3
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Add NOW() Function
  1. 3. Add a comma, the specify the format for the time only. To achieve the same result as with the keyboard shortcut, use the following format: “hh:mm:ss”.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Specify Time Format
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Specify Time Format
  1. 4. Close the parentheses and press ‘Enter’ to see the result.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Time Stamp
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Time Stamp
  1. 5. Copy and paste the cell using the ‘Paste values only’ option to ensure the timestamp doesn’t update when the spreadsheet does.
Timestamp in Google Sheets 3 Easy Ways Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp 3
Timestamp in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways - Paste Values Only for Static Timestamp

Conclusion

There are three different ways of adding time and date stamps in Google Sheets. However, each method obtains slightly different results. You can easily add dynamic time and date stamps using the TODAY() and NOW() functions, which will update every time the spreadsheet is updated. On the other hand, there are cases where you want your time or date stamp to be static and record the occurrence of a specific event. You know that the simplest way to add a static time or date stamp in Google Sheets is to use the keyboard shortcuts.

However, if you need to add static stamps using a formula, things get a little trickier. While you can also use the TODAY() and NOW() functions, you must combine them with the TEXT function and then copy the cell and paste only the values. This is quick and simple to do, but it is a manual process. However, you can automate this process by creating a Google Sheets macro or a script using Google Apps Script.

Maria Del Olmo
Originally published Mar 5 2023, Updated Jun 26 2023

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