Dynamic Path and Filename in a Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 17, 2016)

Patricia wrote about a problem she was having with placing a dynamic path and filename in the footer of her documents. Actually, the problem was related to putting the path and filename in the footer of a template, and then having it update properly. It seems that whenever a new document is created based on the template, the path and filename reflects the template, not the document—even after saving the document.

This is actually normal behavior for Word. When you use AutoText to insert the path and filename, what it does is insert a field code. Specifically, it inserts the { FILENAME \p } field. (The \p parameter means that the path is included with the filename.) Like any other field, there are only specific times that the field result is updated. It is updated when it is first used (as in when you insert the field), and subsequently it is updated only when you print the document or when you explicitly update it.

This means that the { FILENAME \p } field will always reflect the last time it was updated, until you do something to update it again. Thus, it reflects the name of the template until you update the field. There is more information on this behavior in the following Knowledge Base article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/832897

If you don't want to print your document to update the field, you can view the field using Print Preview; this also updates the field. You could also select the field and press F9 to update it, but doing so would be quite tedious. Another solution is to create a macro that updates the fields. The Knowledge Base article listed above includes several macros you can use. Most of them follow this pattern:

Sub AutoOpen()
    Selection.WholeStory
    Selection.Fields.Update
End Sub

This macro—which is just an example—updates the fields in the body of a document every time you open it. (More full-featured macros are described in the Knowledge Base article referenced earlier.) You could also use variations of this macro to update fields whenever you save the file, as well.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3824) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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