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: Setting a Document Naming Convention.

Setting a Document Naming Convention

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 2, 2019)

Michelle is a solo lawyer trying to develop a paperless office. One important factor is a document naming convention to help her organize and locate documents. Michelle would like to save all documents starting with the date YYYY_MM_DD to which she would add relevant client information. She wonders if there is a way to create a default for Word so that when she saves a new document, it automatically starts with the current date.

There are a few approaches you can take to handle this problem. Most of the solutions involve using a macro in one way or another. Perhaps the easiest macro-based approach is to make some modifications to the FileSaveAs command. This is the command that Word executes whenever you choose Save As (pressing F12 is the easiest way to do this) or whenever you click the Save button on the toolbar with a brand-new document.

Public Sub FileSaveAs()
    Dim dlgSave As Dialog

    Set dlgSave = Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)

    With dlgSave
        .Name = Format(Date, "yyyy_mm_dd ")
        .Show
    End With
End Sub

This macro is quite simple in concept: It simply puts the current date (in the desired format) into the Save dialog box and then shows the dialog box. In this way, the person can then add whatever "relevant client information" is desired after that date.

Another approach to put the current date into the Save As dialog box is to rely on the fact that Word, by default, uses the contents of the Title field in the document properties as the default filename. You can use fields to update the contents of the Title field. This means that you can follow these general steps:

  1. Create a brand-new template for your documents. (You can use the Normal template, if desired.)
  2. Put the following field inside your document: { info title "{ DATE \@ "yyyy_MM_dd" }" }
  3. Bookmark the entire nested field and use a bookmark name such as "infotitle".
  4. Create a macro such as the following:
  5. Public Sub AutoNew()
        Application.ScreenUpdating = False
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks("infotitle").Range.Fields.Update
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks("infotitle").Range.Delete
        Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    End Sub
    
  6. Save your template.

Remember that in performing step 2, the way you insert field braces is to press Ctrl+F9. The field (which is updated in the AutoNew macro) fetches the current date, in the format specified, and places it into the Title field of the document properties. The macro, after updating the field (and thereby setting the Title field), then deletes the field from the document itself.

The result is that when someone goes to save the document for the first time, Word grabs the contents of the Title field and uses it as the suggested filename for the document. The user can then add whatever "relevant client information" is desired after the date.

If you'd rather not mess with macros at all and you are open to other ways to save your document—besides starting with a date—you may want to visit Graham Mayor's site and take a look at a free add-in that allows you to save numbered versions of document:

https://www.gmayor.com/SaveVersionsAdd-In.htm

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 (11619) 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: Setting a Document Naming Convention.

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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