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: Avoiding the Update Links Message.

Avoiding the Update Links Message

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 7, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


Michael notes that, as he expects, Word automatically updates links when he opens a document. The problem is that when other users of his workbook see the "Do you want to update links" message that appears at startup, they don't understand what is happening. Michael wonders if there is a way to either suppress the message or set the default to "Yes" (to update links) so that the message never appears.

The answer is "yes" and "sort of." (Sounds confusing, right?) You can set the default to yes, but that doesn't guarantee that the users won't be asked again about updates.

If you want to set the default to yes, so that the links will be updated automatically on your machine, you can follow 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. At the left side of the dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the list of advanced options until you see the General group. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The General section of the Advanced options of the Word options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Update Automatic Links at Open check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.

With this setting established, your default is established—you want links updated when the document is opened. The problem, of course, is that this is a per-machine setting. As long as someone is using your machine, there is no problem. If you give the document (or series of documents, since there are links between them) to someone else who doesn't have the setting made, then their links won't be updated automatically.

There is one way around this, and that is with an AutoOpen macro. A simple one, to change the one setting, could appear as follows:

Sub AutoOpen()
    Word.Options.UpdateLinksAtOpen = True
End Sub

Of course, such an approach simply replaces one problem with another problem. If your users are confused by being asked about links, then there is just as great a chance that they will be confused when asked if macros should be enabled in the document they are opening.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11410) 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: Avoiding the Update Links Message.

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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