What’s the earliest date possible in Outlook and workaround.


Our articles about saving past events with anniversary reminders begs the question; How far back can Outlook save an event.

The answer in Outlook for Windows, Mac and online is 1 April 1601.

Trying to enter a date before 1st April 1601 brings up an error: “You must specify a valid date and/or time”.

That means you can, for example, record in Outlook the birth of Nathaniel Dickinson in May 1601 but not Jakov Mikalja on 31 March of the same year.

But there’s a workaround that we’ll get to below.

Why 1 April 1601?

1 January 1601 is the Windows base date for files and Active Directory plus some other standards like ANSI.

Why Outlook’s can’t handle the first quarter of 1601?  It probably doesn’t matter much.

Outlook Events before April 1601

Outlook can’t save events before 1601 but they can be faked by entering an anniversary of the event that happens after 1601.

William Shakespeare’s baptism was on 26 April 1564 which is out of Outlook’s range.  Instead enter the 100th anniversary on 26 April 1664.

We could have made it the 50th anniversary or any year after 1601 but the 100th anniversary is a nice round number.  Outlook normally shows only the last two digits of the year, using 100th anniversary makes the date seem correct in most displays.

Add some notes about the correct date.

A recurrence can be set for each year, 5, 10 years combined with a reminder to warn  of upcoming anniversaries. A week, month or more before the big day.


Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Independent since 1996. Delivered once a week.