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 Fields in Locked Forms.

Updating Fields in Locked Forms

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 7, 2022)

If you are creating a form in Word, it is possible to use two types of fields in the form: regular fields and form fields. Form fields, and how they are updated, are covered in other issues of WordTips. If you are creating a form that utilizes other types of fields that must be periodically updated, it can be frustrating to do so. Why? Because Word doesn't always update regular fields as you are filling in a locked form.

Unfortunately, the only way to update such fields is either to print the document (which normally forces all fields to be updated) or to force updates through the use of a macro. If the latter is the desired course, the macro must accomplish the following:

  1. Unlock the document.
  2. Update the fields.
  3. Relock the document.

This is a relatively easy task to do using VBA. You can use a macro such as the following:

Sub UpdateFields()
    Dim OneStory as Range
    Dim OneField as Field

    ActiveDocument.Unprotect Password:="YourPassword"
    For Each OneStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges
        For Each OneField in Stories.Fields
            OneField.Update
        Next OneField
    Next OneStory
    ActiveDocument.Protect Type:=wdAllowOnlyFormFields, _
      NoReset:=True, Password:="YourPassword"
End Sub

To ensure this macro works for you, you'll want to make sure that you change the verbiage "YourPassword" (two instances) to whatever the password is for your document. If your document doesn't use a password, simply delete the Password parameter in both the Unprotect and Protect methods.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1543) 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 Fields in Locked Forms.

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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