Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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: Adding Automatic Time Stamps.

Adding Automatic Time Stamps

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 1, 2018)

Kim wants to use bulleted lists to record notes during a classroom observation. Each note (each bulleted item in a list) needs to have a time stamp to indicate when it was observed and created. She wonders about the best way to automatically add the time stamp to each bulleted list item as it is created.

There are a couple ways you can approach a solution to this need, and each approach requires the use of a macro. The reason is because Word doesn't include any shortcuts or tools that automatically add a time stamp to your document. You could, of course, just use the traditional tools to insert a date and time (such as pressing Alt+Shift+T), but you'll find that unsatisfactory—the tools insert a field that is updated to the current date and time whenever fields are updated.

A simple solution is to create a macro that inserts the date and time:

Public Sub TimeStamp
    Selection.InsertDateTime _
      DateTimeFormat:="MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss" & _
      " - ", InsertAsField:=False
End Sub

You could assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut. That way, as you are typing you could press the shortcut and thereby insert a static date and time at any point in your document.

A more complete solution might be to create a macro that not only inserts the date and time, but also inserts a paragraph and formats it using your desired bullet style. Start by creating a paragraph style (I'll call it "MyBullet") that reflects all the formatting you want in the paragraph—font, size, indent, bullet format, spacing, etc. Then, create a macro similar to the following:

Sub Observe()
    Selection.TypeParagraph
    Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("MyBullet")
    Selection.Font.ColorIndex = wdRed
    Selection.InsertDateTime _
      DateTimeFormat:="MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss" & _
      " - ", InsertAsField:=False
    Selection.Font.ColorIndex = wdAuto
End Sub

When you run the macro, it inserts a new paragraph at the insertion point, formats that paragraph using the MyBullet style, inserts the date and time in red, and then remains ready for you to type your observation.

Now, all this being said, you should understand that Word may not be the best application for the purpose described by Kim. A better approach might be to use OneNote, which allows the easy creation of notes (observations) and time stamping those notes. Information in OneNote could then, after your observation sessions, be copied to a Word document for creating your final report.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11460) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Automatic Time Stamps.

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

Accessing the Source of a Document Link

If you have information linked into your document, you may want to display the source of that linked information. Word ...

Discover More

Printing Styles in a Macro

There may be times when you want your macro to print out a list of styles in the document. If so, then you can do it with ...

Discover More

Maintaining Accuracy of Significant Digits

If you work in the sciences or mathematics, you know that significant digits are important. This tip answers questions ...

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)

Assigning a Macro to a Shortcut Key

Do you have a macro that you use frequently? Using the File menu to access the macro can be time consuming. This tip ...

Discover More

Accessing the Dirty Flag

When creating macros, you might want to know if a user has made changes in the document or not. Here's how to figure that ...

Discover More

Creating a Document Font List

If you want a list of all the fonts used in a document, the answer isn't as simple as you may think. This tip uses macros ...

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 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 eight minus 6?

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.