Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Quickly Inserting the Date Your Way.

Quickly Inserting the Date Your Way

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 3, 2022)


Several other WordTips explain how you can understand and change the default dates used by Word. Some people prefer a simple way of inserting the date, in their preferred format, using Word's Building Block feature. To set up this method of date entry, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point on a blank line.
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click Date & Time in the Text group. Word displays the Date and Time dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Date and Time dialog box.

  5. Choose the display format that is closest to what you want.
  6. Make sure the Update Automatically check box is selected at the bottom of the dialog box.
  7. Click on OK. The date, using the selected format, appears in your document.
  8. Select the date field and press Shift+F9. This displays the actual DATE field coding.
  9. Change the format within the quote marks to reflect your final format.
  10. Press Shift+F9 to display the DATE field results instead of the field coding.
  11. Select the date field again.
  12. Press Alt+F3. Word displays the Create New Building Block dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  13. Figure 2. The Create New Building Block dialog box.

  14. Type the word Date in the Name field.
  15. Click on OK. Your DATE field, properly formatted, is now saved in a Building Block entry named Date.

To use the entry, type the word Date and then press the F3 key. The word Date is replaced with your DATE field, as you saved it in the Building Block entry.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10359) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Inserting the Date Your Way.

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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What is four more than 1?

2015-01-04 20:39:01

Paul K

In Word 2013, AutoComplete works like this:

In typing the month, Word recognizes, say, January after you type Janu. Pressing the Enter key completes the month. Pressing the space bar triggers Word to offer the day and year. Pressing the Enter key completes your date.

janu>Enter>Space>Enter = January 4, 2015

2015-01-02 15:12:24


Far too complicated for dummies like me. Example: "[Step]1.Position the insertion point on a blank line." doesn't help if we don't know what insertion point you mean (the arrow that shows where to type?) On a blank line where? (a new document or e-mail?)
If I can't get past step 1, I won't be able to follow the multitude of other steps... and making a paper copy of convoluted multiple directions is a minor nuisance, too.
Also: Once I put a date on something, I don't want the computer changing it every time I open the document.

2013-08-19 07:40:53


If you just want to add the date and not a date field, you could use a macro to do it (assuming you only ever wanted to add today's date... otherwise you'd pretty much have to type it no matter what):

Sub InsertTodaysDate()
Selection.TypeText Format(Date, "dd-mmm-yy")
End Sub

As for your "b" question, Gary, I haven't used Word 2003 in over five years, so I'm not sure what the autocomplete feature to which you are referring is; however, if you assign a keyboard shortcut to the macro I presume it would be easier than any autocomplete.

2013-04-19 17:15:42

Gary B

This is a good tip for those who want a specific date format.

However, the problem(s)with this procedure:
a. Will update the doc everytime you open it. That's NO good when you require the doc to show/remain in its orig date.
b. It doesn't address the convenience of just typing a date for an autofill feature that was available in Word 97 - 03.

Answer 'b' and many will be pleased.

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