6 Ways to Insert Date and Time in Microsoft Word Documents

Did you ever wonder how to insert date and time in your Word document? Perhaps you want to insert the current date for reference or insert the document date in footer. It is also a common practice to maintain a changelog with last updated date by each person when a document is maintained by multiple people. Good thing is that you can easily insert date and time in Microsoft Word documents using various methods.

Inserting Date & Time

You have three possible dates to insert:

  • Current date / time – simply insert current timestamp or update automatically whenever you open the document.
  • Document date / time – creation time of the document.
  • Custom date / time – any date or time.

It is possible to include time or only insert the date. The formats can be customized within the app and Word remembers the previously used format.

Note: Most of these will work in Word for Mac app also, though the interface is bit different.

1. Using Date & Time from Insert Menu

  • Open your document and place the cursor where you want to insert date / time.
  • Go to “Insert” menu and click on the “Date & Time” option available under “Text” group.
Date and Time Under Text Group
Date and Time Under Text Group
  • This will open “Date and Time” dialog box from where you can select the desired format.
  • After selecting the format, click “Set As Default” button to use this format as a default option inside all Word documents.
  • Check “Update automatically” option so that Word will automatically update the date / time. The inserted date/time will be shown as a field, you can select and click “Update” option or press F9 to get the latest date / time.
  • Check “Use full width characters” option if you want to show the date/time in spacious and identifiable manner from other text in your document.
Select Date Format
Select Date Format

2. Using Keyboard Shortcuts

If you do not want to search for “Date and Time” option every time in the ribbon, then you have quick keyboard shortcuts.

  • Alt + Shift + D – insert current date.
  • Alt + Shift + T – insert current time.

In this case, the date will be inserted as a field box which you can drag and drop to any position and click to update. The format will be used as per your system date/time formats. On Mac, you may need to use “Control” key instead of “Alt” key.

3. Using Field Codes

As mentioned, the date / time will be inserted as a field box when you select auto update option in first case as well as with “Alt + Shift + D” keyboard shortcut. So, you can directly use the “Fields” option to insert date in Word documents.

  • Go to “Insert” menu and click “Quick Parts” option showing under “Text” group.
  • Select “Field…” menu from the dropdown to open “Field” dialog box.
Quick Parts Field
Quick Parts Field
  • Select “Date and Time” from the “Categories” dropdown list. You have the following “File names” options and choose the item you would like to insert:
    • CreateDate – document creation date.
    • Date – today’s date.
    • EditTime – total editing time spent on the document.
    • PrintDate – last printed date.
    • SaveDate – last saved date.
    • Time – current time.
  • After choosing the filed name, select the one of the “Date formats” under “Field properties” column. If required, you can also manually enter the custom date format.
  • If needed, check the available options under “Filed options” column.
  • Finally, click “OK” button to insert date / time field.
Insert Date and Time Field
Insert Date and Time Field

Though this is a lengthy process, you have options to insert various fields with custom formatting option.

4. Insert Date / Time in Header or Footer

Use this method to insert date / time in header and footer sections of your document.

  • Simply double click in the header (page top) or footer (page bottom) area of your document.
  • This will show an additional “Header & Footer” menu.
  • Click “Date & Time” button under “Insert” group to open “Date and Time” dialog box.
Date and Time in Header and Footer
Date and Time in Header and Footer
  • Select the format and check “Update automatically” if required and click “OK” button.
  • Click the “Set As Default” button to start using the selected format as default in all your Word documents.
Insert Date in Header
Insert Date in Header

5. Using Quick Parts Gallery

You can use this method when you want to frequently insert a custom date / time format. For example, you may want to insert “Updated Date: current_date”. Follow the below steps in this case:

  • First, type “Updated Date:” and then press “Alt + Shift + D” to insert the current date with update option.
  • Select the text and go to “Insert” menu.
  • Click on “Quick Parts” option showing under “Text” group.
  • Select “Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery…” menu from the dropdown.
Save to Quick Parts Gallery
Save to Quick Parts Gallery
  • This will open “Create New Building Block” dialog box. Enter a name and click “OK” button.
Create Building Block
Create Building Block
  • Whenever you want to insert the saved item, simply go to “Insert > Quick Parts” menu and select the name of your item.
Select Quick Parts
Select Quick Parts

6. Using Macros

The last option is to create a macro and run whenever you need to insert date / time.

  • Go to “View” menu and click “Macros” button.
  • Select “Record Macro…” option form the dropdown menu.
Record Macro
Record Macro
  • Provide a name for your macro and assign it to a button or keyboard shortcut.
Name Macro
Name Macro
  • Select whether you want to store the macro in the template (Normal.dotm) or only in the current document (current document’s name) from “Store macro in” dropdown.
  • Click “OK” button to start the recording.
  • When recording, press “Alt + Shift + D” and then “Alt + Shift + T” to insert current date and time or use any other above explained method that is convenient for you.
  • Go back to “View > Macros” menu and select “Stop Recording” option.
  • Now, use the assigned button or keyboard shortcut to run the macro and insert date / time whenever needed.

Final Words

Though keyboard shortcut is an easy option, other methods can also be used depending upon your need. Options with custom date / time option is suitable if you do not want to use (or change) the default system’s formats. Macros and Quick Parts can be used across all documents to save your time.