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Automatically Determining a Due Date

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: Automatically Determining a Due Date.

Sharen asked if there is a way to automatically calculate a due date in a letter that has its beginnings as the result of a mail merge. The easiest answer may be to examine the data source you are using for your mail merge and add an extra "due date" field to the source. For instance, if you are using an Excel worksheet as your source, you might add a field (column) that contains a date that is thirty days in the future. Likewise, if you are using Access as your data source you could do the same thing.

This approach would, of course, give you a static date that is thirty days in the future based on when you performed your mail merge. If you wanted something a bit more dynamic, then you are left to work entirely within Word. For instance, you might want to open the merged letter, update the letter's date, and have the due date automatically change based on changing the letter date. Unfortunately, there is no way to do this within Word, since there is no way to do calculations on dates within fields. This means that you must still manually update the due dates.

One way to make the task a bit easier, so that you don't have to always examine a calendar to figure out thirty days in the future, is to use a macro. The following is a very simple macro that will insert a date thirty days from now:

Sub FutureDate()
    Selection.TypeText Text:=Format(Date + 30, "mmmm d, yyyy")
End Sub

This macro determines today's date, adds 30 days to it, formats it as specified in the format string ("mmmm d, yyyy"), and inserts it into the document. If you assign this macro to a shortcut key, you can quickly insert your future date whenever you want, just by hitting the shortcut key.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1760) 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: Automatically Determining a Due Date.

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