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Understanding Default Insert Date Formatting

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Default Insert Date Formatting.

To insert the date or time in a document, many people use the Date and Time option on the Insert menu. When you choose this, you are presented with a dialog box that shows many different ways you can insert the date. The first option in the list of sample date formats always reflects how you have set the Short Date Style in your regional settings. If you want to change this date format, you must do so in Windows. The general steps are as follows, although they may differ slightly based on the version of Windows you are using:

  1. Choose Settings from the Start menu.
  2. Choose Control Panel.
  3. Double-click on the Regional Settings applet. Shortly the Regional Settings Properties dialog box appears.
  4. Click on the Date tab.
  5. Change the value shown in the Short Date Style field, as desired.
  6. Click on OK to close the Regional Settings Properties dialog box.

Once you change the regional settings, the change is automatically available in Word. Thus, the next time you choose the Date and Time option from the Insert menu, the different default date will be immediately available.

When you are using the Date and Time option from the Insert menu, remember that if you choose the Update Automatically check box at the bottom of the dialog box, the date is not inserted as text. Instead, it is inserted using the DATE field, with the /@ formatting switch set to match the date format you selected from the dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1699) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Default Insert Date Formatting.

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