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The Date

Entering the Date

Putting the current date into a document is one of the most common things that we have to type, so how can we do it quickly?

Excel & Access

Simply use the keystroke [CTRL] +[;] (hold down the [Ctrl] key and press semi-colon).

Note this is the same as typing in the date, it does not put in a function that displays the current date whatever day it is. In Excel you need to enter the function =Today( ) to have the current date showing. In Access the function is Date( ).

Outlook

[Ctrl]+[;] doesn't work in Outlook. The clever thing is that in date fields you can use words to enter what you want.

For example, if you are creating a task that you want to start today and and is due by the same time next week, type TODAY as the start date and NEXT WEEK as the due date. So the task will start today and is due this day next week. If you wanted to finish by the end of the week type FRIDAY.

Other examples:

  • TWO WEEKS
  • NEXT MONTH
  • AUGUST
  • FRIDAY WEEK
  • LAST MONDAY
  • NOW

Remember, you can type these into Date/Time boxes, such as Start, Finish (appointments), Due Date and Reminder. (You do not need to type the words in capitals for this to work).

Word

Unfortunately Word does not have a dedicated keystroke for entering the date, and the other built-in features put in an American style date.

You may know that you can go to the Insert menu at the top of the screen and choose Date and Time. This shows the dialog box from which you can choose how you want the date displayed. If Update Automatically is ticked the inserted date will change every day (It is usually best unticked).

There is a keystroke that will open this dialog box - [Alt]+[i] followed by [t] - but you then have to choose the format you want, which is only convenient if you are happy with dd/mm/yy.

At Black Swan we have recorded a macro to put the current date in for us. The following is a step-by-step description of how to record a similar macro yourself.

We recommend you practice inserting the date and choosing the format before you record the macro. Remember the command is Insert - Date and Time. When you are comfortable with inserting the Date follow these steps:

  1. Give the command Tools - Macro - Record New Macro. The Record Macro dialog box appears.
  2. Instead of "Macro1" enter a name for your macro, such as TheDate. ("Date" won't work because it is a reserved word)
  3. Make sure the "Store Macro in" box is set to ALL DOCUMENTS (NORMAL.DOT). (if not the macro will only work in the document you currently have open).
  4. There is a "Keyboard" button on the dialog box, so click that. The Customize Keyboard dialog appears so that you get the chance to choose a keystroke for putting the date in. The cursor is flashing in the "Press new shortcut key" box.
  5. Press [Ctrl]+[;]. Under the entry it will tell you what this keystroke already does. Ctrl+; should be [unassigned], but you can choose another if you like, for example [Alt]+[d]. Ctrl+D is already assigned, but you can choose that and reassign it if you wish.
  6. Click ASSIGN and the key stroke will be listed under CURRENT KEYS.
  7. Click CLOSE. You should now be back in Word. The mouse should have a picture of a cassette next to it, and you should be able to see a toolbar with a blue square button on it. This will be used to stop recording the macro in due course, so leave it as it is for the moment. If you can't see it, carry-on anyway. The system is now recording all your actions, so be careful to get it right and don't rush.
  8. 8) Give the command Insert - Date and Time, choose your favourite format and then click OK. The current date should be inserted into your document.
  9. 9) To finish, click the Stop Recording button on the toolbar mentioned earlier, or give the command Tools - Macro - Stop Recording. Your macro is now ready to use. Test it using the keystroke you chose at step 5. If it doesn't work, you can try again to record it, and agree to replace the existing one when warned that it already exists.
  10. 8) Give the command Insert - Date and Time, choose your favourite format and then click OK. The current date should be inserted into your document.
  11. 9) To finish, click the Stop Recording button on the toolbar mentioned earlier, or give the command Tools - Macro - Stop Recording. Your macro is now ready to use. Test it using the keystroke you chose at step 5. If it doesn't work, you can try again to record it, and agree to replace the existing one when warned that it already exists.

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