How to Add the Date to the Menu Bar in Mac OS X
You can customize the menu bar clock that appears in the upper right corner of your Mac to include more than just the current time, and one of the more useful things to add is the current date. This is particularly helpful in OS X because unless you have the Calendar app open all the time, you have to actually click on the clock to pull down into the menu to see the date and day of the week on Mac.
Show the Current Date in the Mac Menu Bar
Modern versions of OS X make this customization very simple, and the current date will appear alongside the current time. Here’s all you need to do enable this:
- Head to the Apple menu and open System Preferences
- Go to the “Date & Time” preference panel and then choose the “Clock” tab
- Toggle the box next to “Show Date” to instantly enable the date to appear in the menu bar
- Exit out of System Prefs if satisfied
Toggling that box will make the date appear instantly:
As you can see, the date appears alongside the clock, but the actual day of the week name is shortened by default to better fit within the Mac menu bar. The year also does not appear by default. If you feel like it, you can change that (and other options like adding emoji to stylize the clock a bit) by visiting the “Language & Region” preference panel and poking around in the Advanced options.
Another option is to install a third party app like Day-O, which puts a full Calendar into the menu bar of OS X, a feature which is so useful that frankly, it should be built into the Mac menu bar by default.
This is the same in any modern incarnation of Mac OS X, from 10.6 onward through OS X Yosemite 10.10. But of course we’re not going to overlook old versions, so if you’re still in the older generations you can still make this customization…
Adding the Date to the Menu Bar in Prior OS X Versions
This is adopted from an article published a while back, it’s included here because it’s still relevant to some Mac users with older machines:
Depending on what version of OS X you are running, the exact parameters might be a little different but it’s the same concept. In fact, prior versions of OS X doesn’t put the option in the Date & Time prefs at all. Instead, really old versions need to launch the System Preferences, and then visit the “International” preference pane, followed by the ‘Formats’ tab… next click the “Customize” button in the Times pane. Similarly, to show the Date in the active format, extract the Date info from the International -> Formats -> Dates pane. Here you can alter the appearance of the Time format, add the date (in a format you specify), or add a custom message.
The “International” formats also allows for some further customization to the menu bar clock item though by choosing the customize button. You can either paste in the items you want to show, or you can even add in static text if you want to, like “OSXDAILY Rules!” or something to that effect. The end result can really be anything you want.
Thanks for the tip idea Steve!