Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Understanding DATE Field Formatting.

Understanding DATE Field Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 25, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When you insert today's date using a DATE field in Word, you can specify a format for how the date is displayed by using the \@ switch with the field. For instance, if today is September 18, 2021, and you wanted to display the date as 18 Sep 2021, you would use the following syntax for the DATE field:

{ DATE \@ "d MMM yyyy" }

You can easily change the format for the date by changing what is within the quote marks. The options are as follows:

Format Code Meaning
M Displays one or two digits for the month, as necessary.
MM Always displays two digits for the month.
MMM The three-letter abbreviation for the month.
MMMM The full name of the month.
d Displays one or two digits for the day of the month, as necessary.
dd Always displays two digits for the day of the month.
ddd The three-letter abbreviation for the day of the week.
dddd The full name of the day of the week.
yy Always displays two digits for the year.
yyyy Always displays four digits for the year.

Note that the letter M must be uppercase in all formats, but that the letters d and y can be upper or lower. Any other characters you use in the format string are displayed as entered.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9260) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding DATE Field Formatting.

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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