Add Options to a Field in Word 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

In Office 2011 for Mac, Word fields can help you accomplish a wide variety of tasks, including all sorts of automation. You can create a field in Word 2011 (in this case, one that shows the time), and you can add some optional formatting. Start with a new, blank document:

  1. Click the New button on Word’s standard toolbar to open a new, blank Word document.

  2. Choose Insert→Field.

  3. In the Categories list, choose Date and Time.

  4. In the Field Names list, choose Time.

    The description in the dialog changes to The Current Time.

  5. Click the Options button.

  6. Choose MMMM d, yyyy in the Date-Time Formats list.

    If you live somewhere other than the United States, you may have to choose d MMMM, yyyy. You’ll have to drag the scroll bar down slightly to see this format. This just swaps the placement of the month and date!

    In the following list, m stands for month, d stands for day, and y stands for year (just like in Excel):

    • M displays the number of the month.

    • MM displays a two-digit number for the month.

    • MMM displays a three-letter abbreviation for the month.

    • MMMM displays the month spelled out.

    • d displays the number of the date.

    • dd displays the date as a two-digit number.

    • ddd displays the day of the week as a three-letter abbreviation.

    • dddd displays the day of the week spelled out.

    • yy displays a two-digit year.

    • yyyy displays a four-digit year.

  7. Click the Add to Field button to add the formatting to your field.

  8. Click OK to close the Field Options dialog and then click OK to close the Field dialog.

    The current time appears in your document with the switch formatting. If you view the field code after completing step 8 you see @ plus the chosen format is added to the field code as TIME @ ” MMMM d, yyyy “. When you add options to a Field code they are shown after a backslash and are called switches.


Take a look at your new field code and compare the differences before and after adding the formatting switch, as shown in the following example. You could’ve typed in all that formatting stuff, but Word typed it for you. Go ahead and experiment with the format code. Try the different variations that are listed in the Field Options dialog, such as M.d.yy, and notice the placement of quotation marks, if any. Quotation marks within Word fields tell Word to do certain things. In this case, they specify the formatting to apply.

11:57 AM
June 18, 2010

Time is a fairly typical Word field.