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: Changing the Format of Existing Dates.

Changing the Format of Existing Dates

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2016)

Aileen works with a lot of documents that have the date in a numeric format, such as 9/22/12. She needs to convert these dates to a different format, specifically September 22, 2012. She wonders if there is an easy way to make the change without needing to retype each date.

The answer depends, in large part, on the nature of the date you are changing. Dates in a Word document can either be straight text or a field. You can tell if the date is a field by simply moving the insertion point somewhere inside the date. If it is a field, then the entire date should be shaded in light gray once the insertion point is within the date.

If the date is a field, then you can right-click on the date and choose Edit Field from the resulting Context menu. You can then modify the field, including selecting a different date format in the Field Properties list.

If the date is regular text (not a field), then you need to look to a different solution. It is possible to go through the document and manually retype all the dates, but Aileen already found out that such an approach is tedious. This is where a macro can come in handy: to cure the tedium by programmatically doing what you would otherwise do by hand.

The following macro will step through a document, searching for all dates in the format m/d/yyyy. (There can be either one or two digits for either the month or day, but must be four digits for the year.) If a date matching this pattern is found, it is converted to the format mmmm d, yyyy.

Sub GetDateAndReplace()
    Dim FoundOne As Boolean

    Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory, Extend:=wdMove
    FoundOne = True ' loop at least once

    Do While FoundOne ' loop until no date is found
        With Selection.Find
            .ClearFormatting
            .Replacement.ClearFormatting
            .Text = "([0-9]{1,2})[/]([0-9]{1,2})[/]([0-9]{4})"
            .Format = True
            .Forward = True
            .MatchWildcards = True
        End With

        Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceNone

        ' check the find to be sure it's a date
        If IsDate(Selection.Text) Then
            Selection.Text = Format(Selection.Text, "mmmm d, yyyy")
            Selection.Collapse wdCollapseEnd
        Else ' not a date - end loop
            FoundOne = False
        End If
    Loop
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3400) 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: Changing the Format of Existing Dates.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Inserting the Total Number of Pages in Your Document

Word keeps track of many statistics for each of your documents. One statistic is the total number of pages in the printed ...

Discover More

Odd Sorting

Word is great at sorting simple information in tables and paragraphs. If you have more complex information (such as ...

Discover More

Relative References within Named Ranges

Excel is usually more flexible in what you can reference in formulas than is immediately apparent. This tip examines some ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Different Ways of Inserting Dates

Word provides a couple of different ways you can insert the current date into a document. Which method should you choose? ...

Discover More

Forcing the Date to the Next Wednesday

Working with today's date in Word is easy. Trying to manipulate dates to come up with a future one can be an entirely ...

Discover More

Determining the Month of the Year

Your macro code may need to determine the month of the year represented by a particular date. You can find the desired ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.