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: Date Last Edited.

Date Last Edited

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 12, 2015)

1

Kathy asked if there was a way to insert a field in Word that displays the date that the document was last edited. The answer is a resounding yes—and no.

Word maintains a wide array of statistics related to your document. You can see most of these by displaying the Properties dialog box for the document. Many of these properties can be inserted in your document through the use of fields. The key field related to "last edited date" is the property that shows on the Statistics tab that is labeled "Modified." This date is inserted in a document through the use of the SAVEDATE field. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Statistics tab of the Properties dialog box.

There is a huge caveat here, however: Saving does not equal editing, on many different levels. First of all, if I edit a document right now, walk away from it for an hour, and then do nothing else except save it, the SAVEDATE will represent the time when I saved the document, not an hour earlier when I last edited it. In addition, if I open a document, make no changes, and simply save it right away, the SAVEDATE is updated.

Given the obvious disparity between editing and saving, one could reasonably ask why Word doesn't track when edits were last done, separate from when a document was last saved. The answer is sort of simple—there is no real way to tell when edits were last made because there is no clear understanding of what constitutes an edit. For example, most people would agree that changing a character or two in a document is an edit. How about when fields are updated in a document? Does that count as an edit? Some would say yes, and others no. How about when links are refreshed, or when a macro is run? How about when repagination is done in the background, or when the spelling and grammar checker underlines questionable words?

You get the idea. The bottom line is that it is easier for Word to simply track when a document was last saved, rather than trying to second-guess what passes for a valid edit. Provided you save your document right after you make your edits (and only then), the SAVEDATE field will reflect the last time you made edits.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10805) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Date Last Edited.

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

Formatting Comments

Need to change the appearance of the text in your comments? It's easy to do using techniques you are already familiar with.

Discover More

Keeping Callouts Positioned

Using graphics to add callouts to your graphics is a common occurrence in Word. Here's how to stop all those graphics from ...

Discover More

Changing the Start Screen's Theme

You'll spend a lot of time viewing the Start screen in Windows. If you want to change up things, you can modify which theme ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count

Word provides a tool that counts the number of words in a document. Here's an alternative method of calculating the a word ...

Discover More

Field Calculations in Locked Forms

When adding form fields to a document, you may want some of the fields to be automatically calculated from other fields. If ...

Discover More

Condensing Figure Caption References

Word can automatically add captions to your figures. You can then reference those captions from within your document. If you ...

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?

2016-08-10 23:05:35

Cherry

Nice! I encountered this problem: I received an email enclosing a word file. After I downloaded and saved it to my pc, I am not able to tell when the file was last edited and saved by the sender. Could you help here please? Still better if I can see the changes made by the sender. Thanks a lot!


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.