Fun With KQL – Now


What time is it? That’s what the KQL function now will tell you. It will return the current date and time. It is mostly used in queries where you need data relative to the current date and time.

Before we go on, let me mention the samples in this post will be run inside the LogAnalytics demo site found at This demo site has been provided by Microsoft and can be used to learn the Kusto Query Language at no cost to you.

If you’ve not read my introductory post in this series, I’d advise you to do so now. It describes the user interface in detail. You’ll find it at

Note that my output may not look exactly like yours when you run the sample queries for several reasons. First, Microsoft only keeps a few days of demo data, which are constantly updated, so the dates and sample data won’t match the screen shots.

Second, I’ll be using the column tool (discussed in the introductory post) to limit the output to just the columns needed to demonstrate the query. Finally, Microsoft may make changes to both the user interface and the data structures between the time I write this and when you read it.

Now Basics

At its simplest, the now function returns the current date and time.

Here we used the print operator (covered in Fun With KQL – Print) to display the current date time to the results pane at the bottom. Just a reminder, all Kusto functions require the use of parenthesis at the end, even if they are left empty.

Now With An Offset

The now function can accept parameters. You can enter an offset to return a date in the past, or future, relative to the current date and time.

In the first column I get the current date time with now() and copy it into the RightNow column of the output.

In the second column I pass in a parameter of -2d to now. This will subtract two days from the current date time and place it in the TwoDaysAgo column.

Finally, I pass in a value of 4h to now. This will get the time four hours in the future, again from the current date and time.

Below is a quick reference for common date and time abbreviations that can be passed into Kusto’s many date time functions, including now.

Abbreviation Time Unit
d days
h hours
m minutes
s seconds
ms milliseconds
microsecond microseconds

Using Now in a Query

You can also use now as part of a query, as well as in its calculations.

Here, we took the Perf table and piped it through two where operators to limit the dataset to only rows with a counter name of Free Megabytes whose counter value is greater than zero.

It is then piped through the take operator to give us a small sample dataset of ten rows to work with, for demonstration purposes.

Next we use the extend operator to add a new column to the dataset naming it HowLongAgo. To get this, we subtract the TimeGenerated column from now(), to see how far in the past this entry was recorded in the Perf table. If you look at the value in the first row, the HowLongAgo indicates this data was recorded 0 hours, 20 minutes, and 20.9790581 seconds previous to the current date time.

The project operator is then used to get only the columns we want, including making a copy of the current date time (using now) into the CurrentTime column.

If you’re not familiar with the operators that were used in this query, you can refer to my past posts for more information.

Fun With KQL – Where

Fun With KQL – Take

Fun With KQL – Extend

Fun With KQL – Project


In this post we covered the useful now function. It is a function you’ll use a lot in your work with Kusto. In the next post we’ll look at the other common date function ago, and contrast it with now.

The demos in this series of blog posts were inspired by my Pluralsight courses Kusto Query Language (KQL) from Scratch and Introduction to the Azure Data Migration Service, two of the many courses I have on Pluralsight. All of my courses are linked on my About Me page.

If you don’t have a Pluralsight subscription, just go to my list of courses on Pluralsight . At the top is a Try For Free button you can use to get a free 10 day subscription to Pluralsight, with which you can watch my courses, or any other course on the site.

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