Insert a date in a template

It is often helpful to include a date in a template, so that when you start a new document, the date is already entered in the desired location, such as at the top of a letter or memo, or in the footer of a report.

Unfortunately, too many users fall victim to a trap in Word. You do not insert the date in your templates using the Insert → Date command! That command inserts a field, or code, that produces the current date at all times. That means if you create a letter on August 22nd, while you are creating the letter the date field reads August 22nd. But if you open that same letter three weeks later, the date will indicate the current date (Such as September 15th) instead of the date when the letter was created!

Therefore, you need to insert a different kind of date--a date field that reflects the date that the document was created. When you insert the CreateDate field in a template, each time you create a new document based on that template, the CreateDate field is set to the date the document is created. When you open that document three weeks later, the CreateDate field still reflects the date the document was created.

  1. Choose Insert ? Field
  2. Choose the Category: Date & Time
  3. Choose the Field: CreateDate
    • See the notes below about other Date fields.

    Field dialog box

  4. In the Field Properties section, select a date format that you like.
  5. Click OK.

There are other Date & Time fields that may provide desired results. For example, if you commonly start a document but it takes you several days to finish it, you might want to use the SaveDate, EditTime, or PrintDate fields instead of CreateDate. Just avoid the plain-old Date field, because that is the "current date" field that is so problematic.

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