Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Last Saved Date in a Footer.

Last Saved Date in a Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 18, 2017)

Lori wants the right side of the footer for her worksheet to include the date the workbook was last saved. Every time she tries to create a formula to do this, Excel displays an error message that states the "string is too long" and that she needs to delete some characters. She's not sure she understands why this is happening or how she can get the date she wants in the footer.

There is no actual formula that can put the last-saved date in a footer. Excel has no way (unlike Word) to put this tidbit of information there. There is a way you can do it, but the solution requires the use of a macro. The reason is because you are accessing system information—information outside of Excel itself—and that information can only be retrieved using a programming language such as VBA.

One approach is to add some code that runs whenever a workbook is saved. The code would update the desired footer with the current date:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeSave(ByVal SaveAsUI As Boolean, _
  Cancel As Boolean)

    ActiveWorksheet.PageSetup.RightFooter = _
      "Last Saved: " & Format(Date, "mmmm d, yyyy")
End Sub

This macro, which should be stored in the ThisWorkbook object for the workbook you want to affect, updates the footer for the currently active worksheet. If you want to affect all the worksheets in a workbook, then a small change to the macro is in order:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeSave(ByVal SaveAsUI As Boolean, _
  Cancel As Boolean)
    Dim sht As Worksheet

    For Each sht In Sheets
        sht.PageSetup.RightFooter = _
          "Last Saved: " & Format(Date, "mmmm d, yyyy")
    Next
End Sub

If today is December 12, 2011, then after running the macro (which is done automatically when saving), the right footers will all be set to "Last Saved: December 12, 2011".

You can also rely upon the file save date stored in Excel's built-in properties. The way you put that date into the footer is as follows:

Sub RightFooterLastSaved()
     ActiveSheet.PageSetup.RightFooter = _
       ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties(12)
End Sub

The drawback to this macro is that you need to remember to run it periodically, so it is not quite as automatic as the previous approaches. You could, however, place the single line at the heart of the macro into the Workbook_BeforePrint event handler.

There is another approach you can use. This one involves requesting from Windows the actual date and time a file was saved.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim sht As Worksheet

    sTemp = FileDateTime(ActiveWorkbook.FullName)
    sTemp = "Last Saved: " & sTemp
    For Each sht In Sheets
        sht.PageSetup.RightFooter = sTemp
    Next sht
End Sub

This macro is designed to run whenever a workbook is first opened—it is saved as the Workbook_Open procedure of the ThisWorkbook object. The workhorse of the macro is the line that calls the FileDateTime function. This function can be used to determine the date and time any file was saved. It requires a full path name of a file, which is supplied by the FullName property of the ActiveWorkbook object. This date and time is then placed in the right footer of all the worksheets in the workbook.

Remember, as well, that the limit of what you can place into each section of the header or footer is approximately 250 characters. So if you adjust the macros to add more information to the right portion of the footer, make sure that it doesn't add up to that many characters, or you may have problems with the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2190) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Last Saved Date in a Footer.

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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