I know that it is important to have dates on papers that you hand in to teachers. I usually put the date that I start the paper, but sometimes I change it to make it seem like I'm not procrastinating. I've also used the date the paper is due. No teacher has ever said anything to me or taken off points for how I have the date.

So my question What is the correct date to put on a paper?

  • 3
    Any date prior to the day after the due date is acceptable. But honestly I don't think anybody serious cares.
    – Fraïssé
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:49
  • 2
    I prefer to have students put the date the assignment is due - this helps me sort some assignments better, particularly if they don't put the assignment number on the paper. Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:58

2 Answers 2


Regardless of whether it is homework or any other sort of technical document, the correct date to put on a technical document is the date of its most recent revision. If the history is important, other dates can be added as well (e.g. the submitted/revised/accepted dates on some journal papers).

As for your professors never saying anything... they likely had no reason or even ability to discriminate between the different systems you used to date, and it likely did not matter for the purposes of the class.

  • I agree. I think of this as a file last modified date, as opposed to the date of creation. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 21:36

To add to what Jakebeal stated, going with the date you LAST touched is important to get in the habit of from a work perspective too. If you are working on a document that helps write out the steps needed to be taken for a certain process, documenting when it was last touched is key for co-workers. This helps them to know if it has been updated or not any time recently. If it is older and they know the process has changed, they may ask for you to change it or go in and change it themselves.

Say though that you put in the date you first started the document, but, due to doing other duties, takes you 3 months to document this process. Someone may think the document is not up-to-date or missing information that may have been provided after the date. So by always keeping the date of when you last touched it current, you help others know the validity of the information.

If all else fails.... there is an option in word to allow for the date to be changed automatically to when you next open/edit I believe. I know there use to be not sure if it is still a feature.

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