How to Insert Dates in Excel Automatically: 4 Methods

Method 1 – The Most Basic Way to Insert and Format a Date in Excel

  • In the dataset below, we have a list of the Names of Candidates for an upcoming interview in Rennata Group. We have to insert dates for their interviews in the Interview Date column.

  • Here is how you can insert and format a date manually.

Steps:

  • Select the cell and write a date, DD/MM/YYYY.
  • Click Enter. Here I selected cell C5 and wrote a date, 20/05/2020. 

How to Insert Dates in Excel Automatically

  • You can change the format of the date as you wish. Select the cell and go to the Home>Date option in the Number group of the Excel Toolbar.

  • Click on the drop-down menu attached to it. Select the last option, More Number Formats.

  • You will get a dialogue box called Format Cells. Find the Date option marked in the Category box. From the Type box, choose the format you want.

Read More: How to Insert Date in Excel Formula


Method 2 – Utilizing the DATE Function to Insert a Date in Excel Automatically

Excel provides us with a function called the DATE function. It takes three arguments, Year, Month, and Day. Then provides the date as output. For example, DATE(2020,12,23) = 23-12-20.

Steps:

  • Select the cell and insert the formula =DATE (Year, Month, Day).
  • Click Enter. Here, I selected C5 and entered the following formula.
=DATE(2020,05,20)

Utilising the DATE() Function to Insert Date in Excel Automatically 

  • You can change the format of the date by the method provided earlier.

Method 3 – Applying Excel Functions to Insert a Date in Excel Automatically

In this method, we will see applications of two built-in functions to insert the current date in Excel automatically.

3.1 Using TODAY Function

Steps:

  • Select cell C5 and enter the following formula:
<span style="font-size: 14pt;">=TODAY()</span>
  • Click Enter. You will see the following result.

Applying TODAY() and NOW() Functions to Insert Date in Excel Automatically

  • As “today” is October 12, 2022, the cell is filled with the date 12-10-22. You can change the format of the date using the method mentioned earlier.

Note 1: Use your keyboard shortcut to apply the TODAY function. Select the cell and press Ctrl + ; 

Note 2: The TODAY function does not update automatically. When a day increases and the date is June 23, the cell will contain June 22, not June 23. It will contain the date of when it was inserted until it is changed.


3.2 Using NOW Function

Steps:

  • Select the cell and add the following formula:
=NOW()
  • Click the Enter key, and you will have the following result.

Applying TODAY() and NOW() Functions to Insert Date in Excel Automatically

  • By default, the output of the NOW function is in Custom format. But if you want to change the format of the cell, follow the steps provided earlier.

Note 1: Use your keyboard shortcut to insert the NOW function. Press Ctrl + ;. Press Space. Then press Ctrl + Shift + ;.

Note 2: Like the TODAY function, the NOW function does not update automatically.

Read More: How to Insert Current Date in Excel


Method 4 – Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

The first date of the interview has been inserted manually using the DATE function or any other method. Let’s say we now want to insert dates for the rest of the candidates automatically.

There are two methods to do this.

4.1 Autofill Dates by Dragging the Fill Handle

Steps:

  • Move your mouse over the Bottom Right corner of the first cell and you will get a small Plus(+) sign. This is called the Fill Handle.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • Drag it down the column, up to the cell you want to fill. You will find all the cells filled with increasing dates one by one.
  • If you want to fill the cells in another way rather than increasing them one by one, click on the small square box in the Bottom Right corner of the last cell.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • You will get these options.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • By default, you are in the Fill Series option. It fills the cells one by one with increasing dates.
  • If you want to fill the cells with weekdays only, click on Fill Weekdays. The cells will be filled with upcoming weekdays (taking Saturday and Sunday as weekends, by default).

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • If you want to insert dates by changing the months only, click on Fill Months. It will change the months one by one, keeping the day fixed.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • You can fill the cells by changing the years only, keeping the day and the month fixed. Click on Fill Years.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • You can insert dates in the cells automatically by maintaining any criteria, by dragging the Fill Handle.

4.2 Autofill Dates by Fill Option from Excel Toolbar

Steps:

  • Enter the first date.
  • Select the cells where you want to insert dates automatically. Here I have entered the date 20-05-20 in C5, and then selected cells C6 to C15.

  • Go to the Home>Fill option in the Excel Toolbar under the Editing section.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • Click on the drop-down menu. Click on Series.

  • You will get a dialogue box named Series.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • In the Series in section, the Columns option is selected. In the Type section, the Date option is selected. Keep these unchanged.
  • In the Date unit section, select the one that you want to increase.
    • Select Day if you want to fill the cells with upcoming days.
    • Select Weekday if you want to fill the cells with upcoming weekdays.
    • Select Month if you want to fill the cells with increasing months keeping the day fixed.
    • Select Year if you want to fill the cells with increasing years keeping the day and month fixed.
  • All these options are available in the Fill Handle, except for one. In the Fill Handle, the Step value is set by default 1.
  • If you want to set the step value to anything other than 1 in the Fill Handle, you have to manually fill two or more cells with that step value.
  • Drag the Fill Handle. Here you can set the Step value by setting it into the Step value option.
  • Set it and click OK. Here I selected Weekday from the Date unit and kept the Step value as 3.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

  • The selected column is filled with increasing weekdays with step value 3.

Insert Multiple Dates Automatically in Excel

Read More: Automatically Enter Date When Data Entered in Excel


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Rifat Hassan
Rifat Hassan

Rifat Hassan, BSc, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, has worked with the ExcelDemy project for almost 2 years. Within these 2 years, he has written over 250 articles. He has also conducted a few Boot Camp sessions on effective coding, especially Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Currently, he is working as a Software Developer to develop and deploy additional add-ins to enhance the customers with a more sophisticated experience with Microsoft Office Suits,... Read Full Bio

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