Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Noting the Workbook Creation Date.

Noting the Workbook Creation Date

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 27, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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When you are developing a worksheet, you may need to keep track of certain information about your workbook. For instance, you might want to place the creation date of a workbook into a cell. While Excel does provide some worksheet functions for dates (such as NOW or TODAY), it does not provide a worksheet function to access the workbook creation date.

This means that the answer lies in using a macro. For instance, you might create a macro that would determine the current date and input it (as text) into a particular cell. This macro could then be run whenever you created a new workbook by naming the macro Auto_Open. The following is an example of such a macro:

Sub Auto_Open()
    If Worksheets.Application.Range("A1") = "" Then
        Worksheets.Application.Range("A1") = Format(Date, "long Date")
    End If
End Sub

The macro checks to see what is in cell A1. If there is nothing there, then it puts the text version of today's date in there. If there is something already there (which there would be every time you subsequently open the workbook), then the information is left intact and unscathed.

Perhaps the most satisfactory approach, however, is to actually access the operating system and pull the file creation date for the current workbook. This can be done with the following macro function:

Function CreateDate() As String
    Dim Temp As String

    On Error Resume Next
    Temp = CreateObject("scripting.filesystemobject"). _
      GetFile(ActiveWorkbook.FullName).dateCreated
    If Err.Number <> 0 Then
        CreateDate = "Not Saved"
    Else
        CreateDate = Left(Temp, InStr(Temp, " ") - 1)
    End If
    On Error Goto 0
End Function

Notice that this approach isn't tied to a particular cell in your worksheet. To use the macro, simply put the following in any cell of your worksheet:

=CreateDate()

The function returns either "Not Saved" (if the workbook is brand new and hasn't been saved before) or it returns a text value that represents the date on which the workbook was created.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10234) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Noting the Workbook Creation Date.

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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What is 3 + 7?

2021-09-12 09:09:11

Willy Vanhaelen

Experimenting with the implementation of this tip's idea I became interested in knowing the creation date of some of my workbooks. I found out that the creation date returned by FileSystemObject (Windows) used in this tip's UDF is not reliable. When you copy a file, Windows shows the copy date as creation date. When you continue working with the copy you get a false creation date. So I did some more investigation and discovered that Excel keeps record of the real creation date that can be accesses through vba with BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation Date").

So I inserted a macro in my personal macro collection:

Sub Created()
MsgBox ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation Date"), ,"Creation date of active file"
End Sub

Having created a button in the QAT for this macro I can find out the creation date of any open workbook in the blink of an eye, eliminating the need of any UDF associated with a formula somewhere in a worksheet.

If you prefer to use one of the macros of this tip, you can drastically simplify them by using BuiltinDocumentProperties.

Sub Auto_Open() 'or better: Private Sub Workbook_Open()
Worksheets(1).Range("A1")=ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation Date")
End Sub

No need to check if A1 already has a date because it won't change.

Function CreateDate()
CreateDate = ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation Date")
End Function

If you enter =CreateDate() in a brand new workbook that hasn't been saved before, the current date is displayed, so there is no need for error catching.

Format the cell containing the creation date to your liking.


2020-07-01 17:22:15

John Mann

This seems a bit elaborate to me. Instead of all that typing to enter the name of a fucntion, why not simply use the keyboard short cut Ctrl+;, which inserts todays date into the active cell. One typing opperation using 2 keys simultaneaously, instead of 12 keystrokes. I'm lazy (gr).

Or am I missing something here.


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