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Change MS Word creation date

Posted on 2007-10-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Can a Word document created date in the stats dialog box be changed/altered ? if so how ? If not can this be used as an ironclad evidence of the creation date ?
Question by:FLBOB10
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 20043444
The Creation Date cannot easily be changed. In the Word object model, it is a built-in property. While it is possible to run some VBA code that appears to change the date, the new date is not saved to the document.

However, it is not ironclad evidence of anything.

Firstly, the system date could be wrong when the document was originally created.

Secondly, an exact copy could be made with a new 'Created' date and substituted for the original document.

Expert Comment

ID: 20063138
If you click on the date and time (in the bottom right corner of your screen if you are using a Microsoft OS), a calendar pops up.
One time I was checking a date and somehow changed the year (with out meaning to ... and ... without realizing it).
Afterwards, the Word and Excel documents I saved that day and the next were saved with the wrong year ... which confused me immensely when I tried to search for a document that I KNEW I created the day before.
So, if you are looking at a file's date in a directory, I know that the date you see (when you are in the "details" view) doesn't necessarily mean it was actually created on that date.

What version of Word are you referring to?

Accepted Solution

dgage123 earned 1000 total points
ID: 20063152
To continue with my previous comment, I changed the year on my Date and Time Properties. I exited Word 2003, then opened it up again. I created a document, saved it, and then went into File > Properties > Statistics and it is telling me I created, modified and accessed the document on October 11, 2006 (and it was actually done on October 11, 2007). And, when I view it in the directory (in the details view), it shows as 2006 also.
So the answer to your question is, yes, a Word document created date in the stats dialog box can definitely and easily be changed and/or altered.
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LVL 77

Assisted Solution

GrahamSkan earned 1000 total points
ID: 20063407

I think it is a matter of semantics.

It is possible, of course,  to fiddle the system date so that a new document has a chosen, rather than an accurate, Created date.

However,  once a Word document has been created, there is no published way of changing its Created date.

But the copying technique means that it is possible to make a document with the same content as an existing one, but with a different Created date. For this reason the created date cannot be evidence of authenticity.

Expert Comment

ID: 20063591
I think I may be looking at this at a slightly different angle than you, GrahamSkan ...

Let's say I initially created a Word document last month (Doc A) ... but I need to "save face" and must make it "look like" I created it five months ago (Doc B).

  *  With Word closed, I change my computer's time and date to five months ago (as described in my previous post).
  *  I reopen Word.
  *  I then create a new document (Doc C) in another folder and save it with the SAME EXACT NAME as Doc A.
  *  At this point Doc C has no content yet but it has been saved to make it look like its "creation date" was five months ago.
  *  Now ... with the empty Doc C open, I also open Doc A.
  *  While in Doc A, I do the following:
          -  SELECT the whole document (Ctrl-A) [assuming there are no headers, footers, etc],
          -  COPY it to my clipboard (Ctrl-C),
          -  Return to Doc C,
          -  PASTE the contents of Doc A/clipboard into Doc C (Ctrl-V),
          -  Then SAVE Doc C (Ctrl-S) and Close the file.
  *  Upon saving, my Doc C is now "transformed" into Doc B. [Doc B is the desired end product which is Doc A's content with Doc C's creation date.]
  *  I delete Doc A and move Doc B in that same folder.
  *  I close Word.
  *  I change my system's time and date back to the correct time and date (and maybe even reboot for "good measure").

Now, let's say that early the next morning, someone goes to my computer and is curious to see when Doc B (which they unknowingly think is Doc A) was initially created.
Upon going into File > Properties > Statistics, they see the created date as 5 months ago.

For the average somewhat technically-challenged office co-worker, I believe this person would be convinced that the document was indeed created 5 months ago.

Does that make sense, or am I having hypothetical delusions because I am sleep deprived??? Probably the latter. Good night.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 20063825
That's a pity. I thought we might be on to something new here, but I'm now sure we are talking about the same thing. It's what the last paragraph in my original comment was referring to.

Expert Comment

ID: 22678342
Another (and simpler) solution is to find and use a tool (like for example FreeCommander) to modify the creation and/or last modified date. In FreeCommander you use File / Attributes/Date to modify the attributes and date/time.

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