Use Footers to Track Drafts

Stever Robbins
1-minute read

Quick Tip: Footers Can Help You Keep Track of Different Drafts

When you're working on drafts of a report, there's nothing more fun than having six drafts laying around and not being sure which is the most recent. How can you prevent this problem? One word: footers.

All modern word processors give you the ability to put a footer on each page. In the footer, you can have the word processor automatically include a date and time. If possible, choose to insert the date of the last time the file was saved. Then every time you print the document, you'll know which set of saved changes is in that printout. If your word processor doesn't give you the option of inserting the save date, however, tell it to print the current date and time. Then at least you'll be able to identify the most recently printed version. Setting up your footer correctly lets you print multiple copies and always know which is most current.

In Mac OS X Pages:

Click on the footer field at the bottom of the page.
Choose Insert | Date & Time...
Double click the inserted date and time
Select Update on open

In Microsoft Word:

Choose Insert | Insert Field...
Click on Date and Time as the field category
Click on SaveDate as the field
Click OK
(Microsoft Word also has Insert | Insert Date and Time, but that only inserts the current date, not the save date.

To keep track of different versions on your computer, see my episode on File Naming Conventions.

Man on Computer image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.