Excel functions: Why Today() is better than Now()
Excel lecturer David Ringstrom continues to share his productivity tips with the trans-Atlantic Excel user community.
Whey they are building date-related formulae, many Excel users apply the NOW() function to return today;s date in their worksheets. It works, but in some situations NOW() can cause a formula headache.
The NOW() function returns the day’s date along with the current time in Excel’s digital date format. So if it’s noon on 21 December 2012, the =NOW()formula would return the result 41,264.50 in your worksheet cell. This is because 21/12/12 is 41,264 days after 1 January 1900, the “zero day” from which numerical dates are calculated in Excel.
The .50 element of the result represents half of a twenty-four-hour day. Thus, if your formula compares a static date value, such as 12/21/12 to the NOW() function function result, Excel will show a mismatch, because 41,264 does not equal to 41,264.50.
So the more efficient way to compares is to use the TODAY() function instead, since it returns the date portion only: 41,264 in the case of our example date 21/12/12.
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About the author
"Either you work Excel, or it works you!" says David Ringstrom CPA, the head of Atlanta-based software and database consultancy Accounting Advisors. He presents Excel training webcasts for CPE Link and contributes articles on Excel to AccountingWEB and Microsoft Professional Accountant's Network newsletter. He can be reached by email at david[AT]acctadv.com.