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: Setting a Document Naming Convention.

Setting a Document Naming Convention

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 21, 2012)

Michelle is a solo lawyer trying to develop a paperless office. One important factor is a document naming convention to help her organize and locate documents. Michelle would like to save all documents starting with the date YYYY_MM_DD to which she would add relevant client information. She wonders if there is a way to create a default for Word so that when she saves a new document, it automatically starts with the current date.

There are a few approaches you can take to handle this problem. Most of the solutions involve using a macro in one way or another. Perhaps the easiest macro-based approach is to make some modifications to the FileSaveAs command. This is the command that Word executes whenever you choose Save As (pressing F12 is the easiest way to do this) or whenever you click the Save button on the toolbar with a brand new document.

Public Sub FileSaveAs()
    Dim dlgSave As Dialog

    Set dlgSave = Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)

    With dlgSave
        .Name = Format(Date, "yyyy_mm_dd ")
        .Show
    End With
End Sub

This macro is quite simple in concept: It simply puts the current date (in the desired format) into the Save dialog box and then shows the dialog box. In this way, the person can then add whatever "relevant client information" is desired after that date.

Another approach to put the current date into the Save As dialog box is to rely on the fact that Word, by default, uses the contents of the Title field in the document properties as the default filename. You can use fields to update the contents of the Title field. This means that you can follow these general steps:

  1. Create a brand new template for your documents. (You can use the Normal template, if desired.)
  2. Put the following field inside your document: { info title "{ DATE \@ "yyyy_MM_dd" }" }
  3. Bookmark the entire nested field and use a bookmark name such as "infotitle".
  4. Create a macro such as the following:
  5. Public Sub AutoNew()
        Application.ScreenUpdating = False
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks("infotitle").Range.Fields.Update
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks("infotitle").Range.Delete
        Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    End Sub
    
  6. Save your template.

Remember that in perform step 2, the way you insert field braces is to press Ctrl+F9. The field (which is updated in the AutoNew macro) fetches the current date, in the format specified, and places it into the Title field of the document properties. The macro, after updating the field (and thereby setting the Title field), then deletes the field from the document itself.

The result is that when someone goes to save the document for the first time, Word grabs the contents of the Title field and uses it as the suggested filename for the document. The user can then add whatever "relevant client information" is desired after the date.

Additional thoughts on this topic of setting a standard file name can be found at this tip:

http://word.tips.net/T003531

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11617) 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: Setting a Document Naming Convention.

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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