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: Updating Automatic Links.

Updating Automatic Links

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 31, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


You already know that Word allows you to include many different elements in your documents, such as pieces of Excel worksheets, sounds, graphics, and other objects. You may even know that you can establish active links with these objects so that any changes in the objects can be reflected in your document, as well. You may not know, however, that you can control whether Word automatically updates links when you open a document. You control this feature in this manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. 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. Set the Update Automatic Links At Open check box as you desire.
  5. Click OK.

Why would you not want to automatically update links when you open a document? The chief reason is time—if your document contains quite a few links, or if the source of those links is hard to reach (perhaps through a network), then opening your document can be extremely slow. To speed up opening your document, turn off automatic updating and things should be fine. Of course, if you want to make sure you have the latest updates of your linked objects, you will need to update them manually, or simply turn on the option and reopen your 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 (654) 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: Updating Automatic 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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