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: Field in Footer Won't Update.

Field in Footer Won't Update

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2012)


Christina has a version number that is on the title page of her document, and she updates it manually. She uses a field in the footer of the document to reference this version number. When she updates the version number on the title page, it doesn't update on the footer, even if she presses Ctrl+A and then presses F9. Christina wonders why the field isn't updating.

The reason that this doesn't work is because Word utilizes the concept of "layers" or "stories" in putting a document together. Your main document text is on one layer and other elements are on different layers, such as the graphics layer or the header/footer layer. When you are in the main document an you press Ctrl+A, you are selecting all the text in the main document layer, and the subsequent action (pressing F9) affects only what you've selected. If you want to affect the fields in the header or footer, you need to place the insertion point within the header or footer and then use Ctrl+A.

There are easier ways, however. One easy way is to use a macro to update all fields, regardless of where they are located. How you do this has been covered in other issues of WordTips, but here is a rather simple macro that will do the updating:

Sub UpdateAllFields1()
    Dim doc As Document
    Dim sRange As Range
    Dim sField As Field

    Set doc = ActiveDocument
    For Each sRange In doc.StoryRanges
        For Each sField In sRange.Fields
a           sField.Update
a       Next sField
a   Next sRange
End Sub

The macro steps through all of the defined story ranges (layers) in the document and then steps through each field in each of those ranges. The result is that all the fields end up getting updated.

Another simple, effective way to do it is shown here:

Sub UpdateAllFields2()
End Sub

Note that this macro only displays Print Preview for the current document and then closes Print Preview. This results in the fields in the document being updated—regardless of location—because Word automatically updates fields whenever you print or use Print Preview.

Another approach is to change how you are using your fields. If the field is not updating, then you are probably using a REF field in the footer to reference the bookmarked version number on the title page. Instead, delete the bookmark and apply a unique style to the version number. (The style should be used only for the version number.) You can then use a STYLEREF field in the footer, and your version number is duplicated there. The benefit of this approach is that STYLEREF fields are, for some strange reason, updated dynamically whenever the source information (your version number) changes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12246) 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: Field in Footer Won't Update.

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. ...


Magnifying Only the Current Cell

You can use the Zoom feature of Excel to magnify what Excel shows of your workbook, but it affects the entire screen. ...

Discover More

Specifying a Number of Matches

The wild card searching capabilities of Word are amazing. One thing you can do with wild cards is to specify not only a ...

Discover More

AutoFormatting a Document

The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Inserting a Document's Size

Want to insert the size of your document directly into the document body? You can do so by using one of the dynamic ...

Discover More

Removing Specific Fields

Word allows you to place all sorts of fields in your documents. If you want to search for only specific types of fields, ...

Discover More

Getting Information About Fields

Want to know what a certain field does and how to use it? Word's online help is surprisingly helpful in getting the ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

2017-01-06 16:17:55

Steve Mayo

My situation is a bit more complicated. I am working on an MS Word form template. I need to have all the fields, one referenced to in the footer as above, update after the last field is entered in the form, as a form. Others use the form for data entry. Is this doable?

2015-02-22 22:56:20


The current page number in footer cannot being automatically increased while selecting multiple pages contents via mouse in word 2010 !

How to resolve this problem?


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.