Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer.

Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2020)

When creating headers or footers for your document, it is very common to insert the date into them. In this way, the date is printed on every page of your document. To insert the date, you can follow these steps if you are using Word 2019 or Word in Office 365:

  1. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Header & Footer group, click either Header or Footer, depending on which one you want to edit. You'll see a list of options from which you can select.
  3. Select either the Edit Header or Edit Footer option from those available. Word activates the header or footer area of the page, depending on your choice.
  4. Position the insertion point within the header or footer at the place you want the date to appear.
  5. Make sure the Header & Footer tab of the ribbon is displayed. (It should be displayed by default after completing step 3.)
  6. In the Insert group, click the Date & Time tool. Word displays the Date and Time dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Date and Time dialog box.

  8. Select a date format from those at the left of the dialog box. Word inserts today's date.
  9. Click OK to close the Date and Time dialog box.
  10. At the right side of the Header & Footer tab, click the Close Header and Footer tool.

The steps are a bit different if you are using an earlier version of Word:

  1. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Header & Footer group, click either Header or Footer, depending on which one you want to edit. You'll see a list of options from which you can select.
  3. Select either the Edit Header or Edit Footer option from those available. Word activates the header or footer area of the page, depending on your choice.
  4. Position the insertion point within the header or footer at the place you want the date to appear.
  5. Make sure the Design tab of the ribbon is displayed. (It should be displayed by default after completing step 3.)
  6. In the Insert group, click the Date & Time tool. Word displays the Date and Time dialog box.
  7. Select a date format from those at the left of the dialog box. Word inserts today's date.
  8. Click OK to close the Date and Time dialog box.
  9. At the right side of the Design tab, click the Close Header and Footer tool.

By default, the date inserted in step 7 is the current date, meaning that the date used is dynamic. Today it shows today's date and tomorrow it will show tomorrow's date. When you use the Insert Date tool, Word actually inserts a DATE field into the header or footer. You can see the makeup of the DATE field by simply selecting it in the header or footer and pressing Shift+F9. The field is expanded, and you can make changes to the field, as desired.

The Insert Date tool isn't the only way to insert a date in the header or footer, of course. Once you position the insertion point where you want it (step 4 in the above steps), you can choose the Date and Time tool in the Text group from the Insert tab of the ribbon and select the format you want used for the date.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7751) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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