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 Calculated Fields in a Form.

Updating Calculated Fields in a Form

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 18, 2015)

Word allows you to create special forms that rely on fields for the gathering of information. These forms can be protected so that text outside of the form fields cannot be modified by users. Other issues of WordTips have discussed ways in which forms can be created.

When you create a form, there are times you may need to have Word update the contents of calculated fields within the form. If you select the Update Fields check box on the Print tab of the Options dialog box, the fields are calculated automatically when a document is printed. In versions of Word prior to Word 2000, the fields are also automatically calculated when you use Print Preview. (That changed in Word 2000; a real print is needed.) But what if you don't want to print the entire document and waste paper just to see what the outcome of the calculations are?

The solution is to create a simple macro and assign the macro to a toolbar button. The following macro will do just fine:

Sub UpdateFields()
    Dim rngStory As Range
         For Each rngStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges
              rngStory.Fields.Update
         Next rngStory
End Sub

It is important that the macro be assigned to a toolbar button because a protected form doesn't allow access to macros through the menu.

This approach, of course, requires that the user remember to click on the button to refresh all the fields. If you prefer, you could assign the macro to the OnExit event of any form field. Thus, whenever the field was "exited," the macro would be executed. One WordTips subscriber also suggested the following macro as an OnExit macro to update fields:

Sub UpdateRefsInForm()
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    If ActiveWindow.View.Type = wdPageView Then
        ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView
    Else
        ActiveWindow.View.Type = wdPageView
    End If
    If ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView Then
        ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdPageView
    Else
        ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView
    End If
End Sub

This macro is rather clever, in that all it does is switch from whatever view you are in (Normal or Page view) to the other view, and then back again. This change in the view mode forces Word to update the fields.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1445) 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 Calculated Fields in a Form.

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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