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Inserting Automatic Date Codes in your documents
Q: I have a specific letter template that I like to use when I'm creating business correspondence. I always remember to type in the recipient's name, address, and of course the body of the letter. However, I always forget to type in today's date. I print out the letter and - if I'm lucky - I discover that it has an old date on it. If I'm not lucky, the recipient gets mailed a letter with last month's date on it. Is there any way to automatically make Word update that date when I open the letter? >Emilio, Boston NY
A: Sure thing, Emilio. You can use an Automatic Date Code in Word. Here's how it works: open up your document (or your template) and delete the current date. Now, click on Insert > Date & Time from the toolbar (this is with Word XP). Pick the specific date format you want, and make sure you click on the checkbox at the bottom that says Update Automatically. Click OK and save your document. That's it. Next time you open up the document, you'll see today's date there.

The only caveat is this: if you want to make sure you know when you saved a particular document, I suggest saving the document with the date in the filename because then next time you open up that document, the date will get updated. For example: you send someone a letter on November 1st, 2004 and save it. You open that letter back up on February 2nd to see when you initially send it, but your date code updates to Feb 2nd. So, what I do is just make sure to save the file as "letter to joe smith 2004-11-01.doc" for example. This is just something I do. Hope this helps. We teach more about the automatic date codes in our Microsoft Word 201 course.




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Richard Rost Microsoft MVP