Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Updating Automatic Links.

Updating Automatic Links

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 25, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


You already know that Word allows you to include many different elements in your documents, such as pieces of Excel worksheets, sounds, graphics, and other objects. You may even know that you can establish active links with these objects so that any changes in the objects can be reflected in your document, as well. You may not know, however, that you can control whether Word automatically updates links when you open a document. You control this feature in this manner:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the General section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Set the Update Automatic Links At Open check box as you desire.
  6. Click OK.

Why would you not want to automatically update links when you open a document? The chief reason is time—if your document contains quite a few links, or if the source of those links is hard to reach (perhaps through a network), then opening your document can be extremely slow. To speed up opening your document, turn off automatic updating and things should be fine. Of course, if you want to make sure you have the latest updates of your linked objects, you will need to update them manually, or simply turn on the option and reopen your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6115) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Updating Automatic 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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What is 8 + 4?

2018-07-16 14:44:27

Yumi Z

I also UNCHECKED the 'Update automatic links at open' option, as I've been trying to convert WORD Docx with the hyperlinks to PDF, but it continues to update and displays actual URL in the converted PDF and the WORD Docx after converting it!
I was able to convert WORD to PDF with hyperlinks without any issue before, but now I can't do it! WHY?!?!?!
How can I stop or disable the automatic update? I do not want to REMOVE the links, but just stop the update...

Anyone has an answer?

2017-03-29 14:20:30

Bud Staniek

This tip does not work as Allen describes. I have a Word doc with links to multiple Excel files that I would LOVE to open without it updating the links. I un-checked the 'Update automatic links at open' option, saved, and closed the file. When I re-opened it, it still proceeded to refresh the links. The only thing the changed setting did was to suppress the dialog that asks you "Do you want to update this document with the data from the linked files?” Granted that dialog is annoying and I don't miss it, but I would really like to stop the doc from updating the links at open.

2014-09-03 11:39:54

Marilyn Bohnaker

Update automatic links at open doesn't seem to work when I copy the document with internal links (ie. Customer Name on top, name automatically reflected on on signature line) to another location. How can I correct this. I do have "Update automatic links at open" checked.

2014-05-15 11:59:04


I use Office pro 2010 with Word version 14.0.7515.1000 (32-bit)
With word document even if I put all my links in manual and I deselect "update automatic link at open" word check all links (without updating them) when I open a document.
the issue is that I have a document with more than 200 links with 13 big excel files and not to waste time I have to open all the excel files (~ 20 min to open)
Can you help me ?
thank a lot

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