How to Insert Dates in Excel Automatically: A Step-by-Step Guide

Inserting dates in Excel automatically is a simple task that can save you a lot of time. By following a few steps, you can have Excel fill in dates for you, whether you want today’s date, a series of consecutive dates, or dates that follow a specific pattern. It’s a handy trick to know, especially if you work with schedules, timelines, or any data that requires date entries.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Insert Dates in Excel Automatically

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re going to achieve. You’ll learn how to make Excel do the heavy lifting when it comes to entering dates. This can range from inputting today’s date to creating a sequence of dates automatically.

Step 1: Open your Excel workbook

Open the Excel workbook where you want to insert the dates.

This is the first step because, well, you need to be in Excel to work with Excel! Make sure you’re in the right workbook and on the correct sheet where you want your dates to go.

Step 2: Select the cell where you want to start

Click on the cell where you want the date sequence to begin.

This is important because Excel needs to know where to start inputting the dates. It’s like telling Excel, “Hey, start here!”

Step 3: Use the TODAY function for the current date

Type =TODAY() and press Enter if you want to insert today’s date.

The TODAY function is a simple way to get Excel to display the current date. It updates automatically each day, so it’s always current.

Step 4: Use the Fill Handle for consecutive dates

Type a date, click on the cell, and then drag the Fill Handle down or across to fill in consecutive dates.

The Fill Handle is that little square at the bottom-right corner of the cell. When you drag it, Excel knows you want to continue the sequence. It’s pretty smart like that!

Step 5: Use the AutoFill Options for patterns

For patterns like every other day, type two dates to establish the pattern, select them both, and then drag the Fill Handle using the AutoFill Options.

Excel can recognize patterns, so if you show it what you want by typing two dates, it will follow the pattern when you drag the Fill Handle. You can tell it to follow a daily, weekly, or even monthly pattern.

After completing these steps, you will have a range of cells with the dates inserted automatically. This can be a single date, a range of consecutive dates, or a pattern of dates that you have specified.

Tips: How to Insert Dates in Excel Automatically

  • If you need the date to stay fixed and not change every day, use CTRL + ; to insert today’s date as a static value.
  • Use the WORKDAY function to automatically exclude weekends when creating a list of working days.
  • The EDATE function can be used to insert dates that are a specific number of months away from a start date.
  • For a series of dates incremented by one year, use the DATE function with the YEAR function incremented by 1.
  • Remember that Excel’s default date format is based on your system’s settings, but you can always change the format to suit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I insert today’s date in Excel that doesn’t update?

You can insert today’s date as a static value by using the shortcut CTRL + ;. This will input the current date but will not change when the workbook is opened on a different day.

Can Excel auto-populate dates on a weekly basis?

Yes, you can use the Fill Handle to drag down the date and then select “Fill Weekdays” from the AutoFill Options. This will only fill in the dates for weekdays, skipping weekends.

Is it possible to automatically insert a date in Excel when a cell is updated?

Yes, you can use the IF and TODAY functions together in a formula to make a date appear when another cell is updated. You can also use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) for more complex automation.

How do I format the dates that Excel automatically inserts?

You can format the dates by right-clicking on the cell, selecting ‘Format Cells,’ and then choosing your desired date format under the ‘Number’ tab.

Can Excel insert a date when a new row is added to a table?

Yes, by using the TABLE function and structured references, Excel can automatically insert the current date into a new row when you add it to a table.


  1. Open your Excel workbook.
  2. Select the cell where you want to start.
  3. Use the TODAY function for the current date.
  4. Use the Fill Handle for consecutive dates.
  5. Use the AutoFill Options for patterns.


Mastering how to insert dates in Excel automatically is a real time-saver, especially for those who deal with date-sensitive data regularly. Whether you need today’s date, a sequential series, or a custom pattern, Excel’s built-in functions and features make it a breeze. And with the tips provided, you can now navigate around common date-insertion challenges like a pro.

Remember, Excel is a powerful tool that can do much more than just number crunching. It can help you manage your time, tasks, and projects more efficiently. So the next time you’re setting up a schedule or tracking important deadlines, let Excel do the date work for you. It’ll ensure accuracy and consistency, leaving you free to focus on the more critical aspects of your work or project. And isn’t that the kind of efficiency we all strive for in our daily tasks?

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy