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Like many who came before me... I have a problem with the way drupal 7 allows me to control the display of the post datetime of a node.

I would like to be able to control the display of the post date as a standard field so that I can just simply order it within my fields. I know that I can edit the node.tpl.php but that's not what I'm trying to do. I want it rendered within the content fields.

Is there a module that will create a virtual field that mimics the post date or something like that?

Or is there a module that provides a date time which will automatically set itself to "now" when a new node is created?

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display suite creates a "virtual" field for the post date and also for other properties of the node (submitted by, author,..). You can also set a date format for the post date.

To use it, enable ds and ds_ui, go to Manage display of a content type and choose a layout. You will see the mentioned fields.

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