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

Understanding Default DATE Field Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 7, 2020)

When you use a DATE field in Word, the program follows a very logical series of steps to determine how that date should be displayed. First, if you have specified a date format by using the \@ switch with the field, that format is used.

If there is no format switch used, meaning the field is simply { DATE }, then Word looks for the existence of a date formatting specification in the Registry. This specification is created (or changed) when you use the Default button from the Insert Date and Time dialog box. Once the dialog box is displayed (display the Insert tab of the ribbon and then click the Date and Time tool), click on Default. This creates or changes the Registry setting.

If the Registry specification is not set on your system, then Word determines the DATE field display format from the regional date settings. You can determine which format this is by starting the Control Panel, double-clicking on Regional Settings, and then choosing the Date tab. The Short Date Style is the format used.

There have been reports that Word is not completely consistent in how it displays text-related date fields. If you include a \@ switch format string with the DATE field, and that format calls for the display of full or partial month or day names (such as Tuesday or September), then the language used for the names is dependent on the language assigned to the paragraph in which the DATE field is being inserted. If you don't include the \@ switch format string, and you have the default date specification set up on your system, then the month or day names always appear in English, regardless of what language you have specified for your paragraph or for your Control Panel regional settings.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11223) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Default 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a List

You can format both numbered and bulleted lists very easily in Word. The tools available on the Formatting toolbar make ...

Discover More

Merging Graphics into Word Documents

Ever want to expand the mail merge feature to include graphics? Merging graphics into your document is easy but requires ...

Discover More

Moving Comment Background Pictures to Cells

When formatting comments, you can use a graphic as a background for the comment box. If you later want to move this ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Deleting All Fields

Fields can be a great way of adding small snippets of dynamic data to your documents. However, you may want to get rid of ...

Discover More

Changing a Field Parameter

Fields are a powerful way to add dynamic content to your documents. Some fields rely on the use of parameters to control ...

Discover More

Stopping DATE Fields from Updating when Opening a Document

A normal DATE field shows the current date, so it is constantly changing. This can cause problems in a document where 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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 one more than 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.