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Easily Changing Links in Documents

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Easily Changing Links in Documents.

John has documents that contain links to pictures on a network drive. The pictures have been moved, and he wants a way to change the links so they point to the new location of the pictures. The only thing that has to change is the drive letter and the path, not the picture name itself.

When you insert pictures as links in your document, they are inserted as INCLUDEPICTURE fields. You can see this if you select the picture and press Shift+F9. You should then, instead of the picture, see a field similar to the following:

{ INCLUDEPICTURE "R:\\CommonPics\\masthead.jpg" \* MERGEFORMAT \d }

With the field code displayed, the contents of that field code can easily be changed using the Find and Replace capabilities of Word. Thus, you can change the drive and path by following these general steps:

  1. Load the document containing the links.
  2. Press Alt+F9 to display all the field codes in the document.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the Find What box, enter the drive and path name you want to change (such as R:\\CommonPics\\).
  6. In the Replace With box, enter the new drive and path name (such as K:\\NewPics\\).
  7. Click Replace All.
  8. Press Alt+F9 to display the field results for all fields in the document.

The links in the document are now all updated, and you can save your document.

If you have quite a few documents that you need to change, you may be interested in implementing the above steps in a macro. Creating the macro is easy (just record the above steps), but getting Word to perform the operation on a series of files, without intervention on your part, is a bit more involved. A good place to start to learn how to do this is at the Word MVP site:


Once you learn the technique of how to work with multiple files, you can then modify your single-file macro (the one you recorded) so it will work on more than one file.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5397) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Easily Changing Links in Documents.

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Comments for this tip:

Regis Von Wagner    26 Jan 2016, 16:00
"Press Alt+F9 to display the field results for all fields in the document." as the final step will not work for Word 2000 and probably others. The links in the document are NOT now all updated

Crtl+A Select all
F9 Update the fields
Alt+F9 Display field codes off

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