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: Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer.

Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 24, 2015)


When creating headers or footers for your document, it is very common to insert the date into them. In this way the date is printed on every page of your document. To insert the date, you can follow these steps:
  1. Choose Header and Footer from the View menu. Word displays the Header and Footer toolbar.
  2. Position the insertion point within the header or footer at the place you want the date to appear.
  3. Click on the Insert Date tool on the Header and Footer toolbar. Word inserts today's date.
  4. Click on Close.
The date inserted in step 3 is the current date, meaning that the date used is dynamic. Today it shows today's date and tomorrow it will show tomorrow's date. When you use the Insert Date tool, Word actually inserts a DATE field into the header or footer. You can see the makeup of the DATE field by simply selecting it in the header or footer and pressing Shift+F9. The field is expanded, and you can make changes to the field, as desired. The Insert Date tool isn't the only way to insert a date in the header or footer, of course. Once you position the insertion point where you want it (step 2 in the above steps), you can choose Date and Time from the Insert menu and select the format you want used for the date.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1420) 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: Inserting the Date in a Header or Footer.

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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What is six more than 8?

2016-05-05 18:09:26


is there a way to change the date format in Word. I find the American use of "dd/mm/yy" confusing and illogical. Condusion could be eliminated with the use of "%d-%b-%Y" where d is day of month as decimal number, %b is abbreviated month name and %Y is year with century. Is there an option to change this in Word?

2015-05-13 18:39:27

Christel Deas

Hi there. When you open up the insert date/time on the design toolbar for header/footer, you will notice a box on the lower right that says "Update automatically". If you click on that it will insert a tickmark and presto, problem solved!

2015-04-03 11:10:08

Justin Revard

Good news, the date updates automatically. Not sure how the time updates, but the date is perfect. Very helpful.

2015-03-31 13:20:21

Justin Revard

I used this feature yesterday and have noticed the date did not update today. I did not see an "Insert Date" tool in the Header and Footer toolbar, but I used the "Date and Time" tool. When I click this it offers a list of formats for the date and time. Yesterday I picked the first option which is a standard date, but it did not update to today’s date when I opened the file this morning. Today I noticed a check box at the bottom of the format selection screen labeled “Update Automatically,” so I checked this and inserted the date with a format that included time. I did not see the time dynamically updating, but I am not sure if the date will update tomorrow. Any advice is most welcome. Thank you, Justin Revard

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