Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Calculating Dates with Fields.

Calculating Dates with Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

3

Aidan asked if it is possible to calculate dates using fields. Seems he wants a date that is two weeks in the future, and thought there must be an easy way to calculate such a future date using fields. Unfortunately, there is no easy way. While Word allows you to do simple calculations using numeric values in fields, it does not allow you to perform such calculations using dates instead of numbers.

You can, however, pull dates apart into their intrinsic portions (months, days, and years), and then do your calculations, but this introduces whole new problems. All of a sudden you need to be concerned with what happens when you "roll" past the end of a month or year. The math involved in doing such a calculation is not trivial. As an example, consider the following compound field:

{QUOTE "{SET Delay "14"}{SET "DaysInMonth" {IF {DATE \@ "MM"}
<> 2 {=ROUND(30.575*{DATE \@ "MM"},0)-ROUND(30.575*{= {DATE \@
"MM"} –1},0)}{IF {=MOD({DATE \@ "yy"|, 4)} > 0 "28" "29"}}}{SET
"NextMonth" {IF {DATE \@ "MM"} = 12 "1/97" "{= {DATE \@ "MM"}
+ 1}/97}}{IF {= {REF Delay} + {DATE \@ "dd"}} <= {DaysInMonth}
{DATE \@ "MMMM {= {REF Delay} + {DATE \@ "dd"}}, yyyy"}{QUOTE
"{NextMonth \@ "MMMM"} {= {REF Delay} + {DATE \@ "dd"} –
{DaysInMonth}}, {IF {DATE \@ "MM"} <> 12 {DATE \@ "yyyy"}{DATE
\@ "{= 1 + {DATE \@ "yyyy"} \# "xxxx"}" }}}}"}

This will return the date in two weeks time (specified in the first line where the Delay value is set. The drawback, of course, is the compound nature of the field—there are over 30 different fields just within this compound field! Even this implementation, as formidable as it looks, will not handle leap years correctly in all instances. (It won't handle leap years correctly in century years divisible by 400.)

Is there an easy way to calculate future dates? Yes, there is—simply use macros. With just a couple of simple instructions you can make short work out of otherwise difficult date calculations. This was covered in an earlier WordTips; you can also find information at the following Word MVP page:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/MacrosVBA/DateOfPrevMonth.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8660) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Calculating Dates with Fields.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Stopping Text from Jumping Around

Do you struggle with getting your graphics and surrounding text to appear just the way you want it? Here are some techniques ...

Discover More

Taking Pictures

Have you ever wanted to take a "picture" of a part of a worksheet and put it in another section? This tip explains how to use ...

Discover More

Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro

Need to use a macro to select a specific cell in a different workbook? It's not as straightforward of a proposition as you ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Protecting Fields

Tired of getting the fields in your document overwritten by regular editing tasks? Here's how to make those mistakes more ...

Discover More

Using Continued Lines

You can create a special header and footer page numbering scheme by using nested fields. This tip shows an example of how you ...

Discover More

Counting Fields in a Document

Need to count the number of times a particular field appears in a document? It's easy to do when you apply the techniques ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 5?

2013-08-30 10:20:27

Abdulhameed

Hello,
i am using MS Word 2010, and i want to insert date but one month back instead of the actual (today) month.

please assist.


2013-07-17 05:47:32

Chris

I have used the code shown above (as added by Andrew Evans) in several documents that we send to customers. It has never let me down and, once you get used to the elements that need changing, you can set the delay to be pretty much whatever you want it to be. The word MVPs are very clever people!


2013-07-16 04:40:57

Andrew Evans

This is out of a Date Calc document by a Paul Edstein I downloaded through a Microsoft help site. It has loads of useful date field calculations
{QUOTE
{SET Delay 14
{SET a{=INT((14-{DATE @ M}/12}}
{SET b{={DATE @ yyyy}+4800-a}}
{SET c{={DATE @ M}+12*a-3}}
{SET d{DATE @ d}}
{SET jd{=d+INT((153*c+2)/5)+365*b+INT(b/4)-INT(b/100)+INT(b/400)-
32045+Delay}}
{SET e{INT((4*(jd+32044)+3)/146097}}
{SET f{=jd+32044=INT(146097*e/4}}
{SET g{=INT((4*f+3)/1461}}
{SET h{=f-INT(1461*g/4}}
{SET i{=INT((5*h+2)/153}}
{SET dd{=h-INT((153*i+2)/5)+1}}
{SET mm{=i+3-12*INT(i/10)}}
{SET yy{=100*e+g-4800+INT(i/10)}}
"{dd}-{mm}-{yy}" @ "dddd, d MMMM yyyy"}


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.