Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 4, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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.

Understand that the technique described in this tip utilizes a DATE field. That means that whenever the fields in your document are updated, the date will also be updated. If you don't want the newly added field to update in the future, you can lock it using the shortcut described in this tip:

https://tips.net/T5980

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, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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