Google Sheets: Using Timestamp

Creating spreadsheets can be a daily task for some, especially if you’re in a job that requires you to create a daily report regarding numbers or sales. With that, it’s important to insert timestamps, as this tells you what day and time you made certain updates or edits to your spreadsheet. 

Google Sheets

With Google Sheets, you may be able to insert timestamps easily in two ways: Using a formula and through a keyboard shortcut. Simply follow the steps below to know how to achieve this.

1. Open Google Sheets.

To begin, open your most commonly used web browser and go to the Google Sheets website. Make sure to have your account logged in first before you can actually proceed to the next steps. This is essential for you to access your previously created spreadsheets.

2. Select the spreadsheet that you want to insert a timestamp with.

Upon opening your account in Google Sheets, browse through all of your previously created spreadsheets and select the one that you want to insert a timestamp with. Click on your selected spreadsheet to open it.

3. Find a blank cell for your timestamp.

In your selected spreadsheet, select a blank cell where you’ll place your timestamp in. In this case, it’ll be placed on cell “A1.” Click on that cell to activate it.

4. Type the formula “=TODAY()” or “=NOW()” in the blank cell that you’ve selected.

In terms of inserting timestamps, you may either use any of these two formulas: “=TODAY()” and “=NOW()”.

To insert a timestamp, type in either of the two formulas (“=TODAY()” or “=NOW()”). If you only want the current date to reflect, you should use the “=TODAY()” formula. However, if you want both the current date and time to reflect, you should type in the “=NOW()” formula. 

Note that these formulas are highly sensitive, which means that if you go back to that spreadsheet the next day, it will reflect the date and time for that day.

5. Press “Enter” on your keyboard to apply the formula.

After you’ve typed either one of the formulas presented above, click on the “Enter” button found on your keyboard. This will automatically reflect the current date and time.

6. Convert the formula into a static value.

Given that these formulas are volatile, it’s best for you to convert them into a static value, so that they will not adjust whenever a date changes. Do this by copying the cell that contains the timestamp. After that, right-click on the same cell and hover your cursor to the “Paste special” option. From there, another set of options will appear. Select “Values only” to paste the date or date and time as is and without the formula that comes with it.

Using A Keyboard Shortcut

This would probably be the easiest one to do out of all the methods. Aside from the fact that it only involves a few keys, it would also generate static values. Meaning, you won’t have to convert them anymore.

1. Select a different blank cell.

This step is optional. If you only want to input the date, then there’s no need for you to do this step. Simply proceed to the next step. However, if you want to include both date and time, make sure to do this. Select two separate blank cells – one for the date and one for the time. For this tutorial, the other two cells are B1 and B2.

Note that the cells that you must select should be different from the last cell that you’ve chosen, as that cell is designated for the final output of your timestamp.

2. Click on the cell where you want to insert your timestamp.

If you only want to insert the date, click on your original blank cell (eg. A1). If not, click on one of the other blank cells (eg. B1) that you’ve chosen in step 4 (the step before this).

3. Hold the Ctrl and colon keys on your keyboard simultaneously.

If your selected cell is already activated, hold Ctrl + : on your keyboard. This will automatically insert the current date. If you only want to insert the date, then you’re already good to go. If you want to include the time, then proceed to the next steps.

4. Select the other blank cell (eg. B2).

Click on the other blank cell that you’ve selected in step 4. In this case, it’s B2.

5. Hold the Ctrl, Shift, and colon keys on your keyboard simultaneously.

To insert the current time, hold Ctrl + Shift + : on your keyboard. This will automatically insert the current time.

6. Insert the add formula into your originally selected blank cell (eg. A1).

Click on your first selected blank cell, the one where you intend to place your timestamp (eg. A1). Type in an addition formula there, by adding the two other cells you’ve chosen: the one with the current date and the other with the current time (eg. B1 and B2). The formula should look like this “=B1+B2” or interchange the arrangement of the cells in the formula. Again, it depends on you. What’s important is you add the two cells together to generate your final timestamp.

7. Click “Enter” on your keyboard to activate the formula.

After you’ve typed in the formula, click “Enter” on your keyboard to generate your final timestamp.

Working with Google Sheets

In terms of convenience, there’s no doubt that Google Sheets can provide you with that. Some features could be quite complicated to access, but with the right guidance and tutorial, you’ll be able to get a hold of them easily. One basic example is inserting timestamps. Just remember to absorb the previous steps by heart, and you’re already good to go the next time you want to insert timestamps in your spreadsheet.