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When you want to add today's date to a document, there are several ways to do it. I'm going to click down here under the title of my document and I'm going to start typing today's date. Now notice, as soon as I hit the Spacebar after the month, it pops up today's date, and all I have to do is hit Enter to insert it and there it is. Now, there are several other ways I can do this. Go ahead and erase the date that you just put in. This time, go up to the Insert tab and on the far right, choose Date & Time. Here, you can choose a format for your date, the ones in the bottom have timestamps as well.
I'll choose the written out May 7, 2012. Now, here at the bottom, there is a checkmark for Update automatically. If you're going to be reusing this document, for example, a template, a handout or a customer service letter, having Update automatically is great, because every time you open the file, it will already have today's date. But, be careful with this, because if the date of your document is important to the actual document itself, make sure that this is unchecked. We're going to go ahead and turn this on. Now, if you always use a particular combination of format and Update automatically or not, you can click Set As Default, and then every time you insert date and time, it will come up with these settings.
I'll go ahead and click OK. Now, notice when I hold my cursor over it that the text turns slightly gray, and if I click on it, I can see that I actually have a field here. My date is not really typed into the document, it's generated. If for any reason the date is not current, I can click right here where it says Update or press F9, and the field will generate the current date. Now, let's go ahead and erase this one more time. I want to point out that there's a keyboard command for inserting the date as well. If I hold down Alt+Shift, and press D, the date gets inserted again as a field.
If I want to change the format, I can right- click on it, and go up and choose Edit Field and then pick my preferred format. Now notice on the right, I have some advanced Field options. I do have the option to use the Islamic, the Hindi, or the Saudi Arabian calendars. There is a checkmark here that will insert the date in the same format from the last time that you used Insert > Date & Time. And down at the bottom, there is a checkmark that will preserve the formatting during updates. So, if you've formatted your text as bold or centered, when you update it, it will maintain that formatting.
If this is unchecked, it will always go back to plain text. So I'll go ahead and turn that on, and I'll click OK. So when you have documents that you reuse like a template, a handout or a customer service letter, not having to type in the date every time will save you quite a bit of effort.
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