The TODAY function returns the the serial number of today's date.

TODAY takes no required arguments and no optional arguments:

Syntax: TODAY()

#1)
Using the TODAY function:
Note:
Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2014 is serial number 41640 because it is 41,640 days after January 1, 1900.
#2)
A few more things:
TODAY returns the serial number of the current date. The serial number is the date-time code used by Excel for date and time calculations. If the cell format was General before the function was entered, Excel changes the cell format to Date. If you want to view the serial number, you must change the cell format to General or Number.
The TODAY function is useful when you need to have the current date displayed on a worksheet, regardless of when you open the workbook. It is also useful for calculating date/time intervals.
If the TODAY function does not update the date when you expect it to, you might need to change the settings that control when the workbook or worksheet recalculates. On the File tab, click Options, and then in the Formulas category under Calculation options, make sure that Automatic is selected.

Summary

The TODAY function returns the the serial number of today's date.
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