Using a Custom Date Format in a Header or Footer

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 27, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


When Noor creates a custom header or footer, clicking the Date icon adds the code &[Date] to whatever portion of the header or footer he specifies. This adds a rather generic looking date to the header or footer, but he would like a date formatted like "Nov. 23/2021." Noor wonders if there is a way to customize how the date appears in the header or footer.

Normally, when you insert date or time into the header or footer with the &[Date] or &[Time] code, the date or time format is based on the regional settings controlled by Windows. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't provide a way to modify this, and most people won't (for obvious reasons) want to change the regional settings in Windows. So, the solution is to use a macro to add the date in the desired format. Here's a simple example:

Sub ChangeHeaderDate()
    ActiveSheet.PageSetup.RightHeader = Format(Date, "mmm. dd/yyyy")
End Sub

If you want the date to be in a different location in the header or footer, just change the .RightHeader property to .LeftHeader, .CenterHeader, .LeftFooter, .CenterFooter, or .RightFooter, as desired.

You would need to remember to run the macro every time you wanted to change the date in the header. If you prefer to have the date changed automatically whenever you choose to print, you can use an event handler, such as the following:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforePrint(Cancel As Boolean)
    ActiveSheet.PageSetup.CenterHeader = Format(Date, "mmm. dd/yyyy")
End Sub

This usage causes the center portion of the header to be updated for the active worksheet whenever you choose to print. If you often print an entire workbook that had multiple worksheets, then you'll want to change the event handler to something just a bit more complex:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforePrint(Cancel As Boolean)
    Dim w As Worksheet

    For Each w In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
        w.PageSetup.CenterHeader = Format(Now, "mmm. dd/yyyy")
    Next w
End Sub

It is possible when you run any of these macros that the / in the date format will change to a dash, such that Nov. 23/2021 is changed to Nov. 23-2021. If this happens on your system, it is because Excel is your default date separator, which is a dash. In that case, just modify the format used in your macro to this: "mmm. dd\/yyyy". Adding the backslash causes Excel to interpret the following character (the forward slash) as a literal character.


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 (12017) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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?

2022-09-05 15:02:37

J. Woolley

For more on this subject, see my comment here:

2021-11-27 11:01:55


You can also add a different specific date to your footer. It can be last saved date, file creation date, or a date from a cell in your spreadsheet.
Simply use one of the following in place of Date in your Format formula:

ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Last Save Time")
ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation Date")
Range(“A1”).value, "mmm. dd\/yyyy"

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