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: Automatically Updating Fields and Links.

Automatically Updating Fields and Links

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 17, 2016)

Stephanie wondered if there is a way in Word to force the updating of all fields and links in a document when either opening or saving (closing) the file. She knows that she can force updates prior to printing, but she was looking, specifically, for the open or close method of updating.

You can automatically update both fields and links when you print a document, but Word treats the two items differently when you are opening a file. Word provides a way to always update your links when opening a document. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools tab. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the General tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Update Automatic Links at Open check box.
  5. Click on OK.

That setting should make sure that all your links are always up to date. If you want to update the fields when the document is opened, you'll need to use a macro to accomplish the task. Specifically, you'll need to use either an AutoOpen or AutoClose macro, depending on whether you want to update the fields when the document opens or closes. The following is an example of an AutoOpen macro you can use.

Sub AutoOpen()
    With Options
        .UpdateFieldsAtPrint = True
        .UpdateLinksAtPrint = True
    End With
    ActiveDocument.Fields.Update
End Sub

Note that the macro makes sure that the options are set to force updating the fields and links when printing occurs, then it updates all the members of the Fields collection in the document. If you, instead, wanted to update the fields at closing, you could use this macro:

Sub AutoClose()
    ActiveDocument.Fields.Update
End Sub

This macro is much shorter because there is no need to set the update-on-print options when you are exiting the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (422) 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: Automatically Updating Fields and Links.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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