Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Automatically Updating Fields and Links.

Automatically Updating Fields and Links

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 12, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Stephanie wondered if there is a way in Word to force the updating of all fields and links in a document when either opening or saving (closing) the file. She knows that she can force updates prior to printing, but she was looking, specifically, for the open or close method of updating.

You can automatically update both fields and links when you print a document, but Word treats the two items differently when you are opening a file. Word provides a way to always update your links when opening a document. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click on Advanced at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General area of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the General area (scroll down a bit to see it), make sure the Update Automatic Links at Open check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

That setting should make sure that all your links are always up to date. If you want to update the fields when the document is opened, you'll need to use a macro to accomplish the task. Specifically, you'll need to use either an AutoOpen or AutoClose macro, depending on whether you want to update the fields when the document opens or closes. The following is an example of an AutoOpen macro you can use.

Sub AutoOpen()
    With Options
        .UpdateFieldsAtPrint = True
        .UpdateLinksAtPrint = True
    End With
    ActiveDocument.Fields.Update
End Sub

Note that the macro makes sure that the options are set to force updating the fields and links when printing occurs, then it updates all the members of the Fields collection in the document. If you, instead, wanted to update the fields at closing, you could use this macro:

Sub AutoClose()
    ActiveDocument.Fields.Update
End Sub

This macro is much shorter because there is no need to set the update-on-print options when you are exiting the document.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (978) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Automatically Updating Fields and 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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