Fields Won't Update when Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 6, 2014)

1

Sheldon writes architectural construction specifications. He has a set of a few hundred master files that he modifies for each building project. He inserts fields in each file that link to a separate file and extract common information, such as the project title, project number, issue date, etc. Each project directory has one of these source files. When Sheldon printed a document, all of the fields and links used to update automatically, as they should. Recently, though, this stopped working; he now has to manually update the fields before printing. The Word options are unchanged and still include "Update fields before printing", "Update linked data before printing", and "Update automatic links at open." Sheldon wonders how he can make the automatic updating work again.

As Sheldon assumes, the automatic updating should work, especially if you have Word configured as Sheldon does. However, this could be a particularly vexing problem to track down. Chances are good that it is due to some partial or complete document corrupting. While that is easy enough to track down if you are working with a single document file, it is much more complex if you are working with hundreds of files.

First, try to determine if all the fields fail to automatically update. In other words, if you have 30 fields in your document that pull information from other files (presumably with the INCLUDEFILE field), then check to see that all 30 of them are not updated. If they aren't, then it is likely that the problem is with the document containing the fields. If only some of them are not updated, then the likely problem is the file being referenced by the fields not being updated.

You'll also want to check to see if the problem is with all of your documents. Create a new, blank document and create, within it, several INCLUDEFILE fields that reference other files. Check to see if it updates automatically. If it does, then you have a strong indicator that the problem isn't with Word, but with your other document file.

Once you've narrowed down whether the problem is with the document containing the fields or the documents referenced by the fields, you can start to examine the problem documents. For those documents, go through the standard process for dealing with corrupted documents. (Copy everything except the final paragraph mark to a new, blank document. Use the new document in preference to the old document that may be corrupted.)

Hopefully these procedures will help you to narrow down the problem and, perhaps, eliminate it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13237) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Table Header Rows after a Manual Page Break

Insert a manual page break into the middle of a table, and you may find that subsequent pages of the table don't always look ...

Discover More

Choosing an Easy Exterior Wood Stain

One of the finishing touches that need to be applied to any wood project is, well, the finish. Wood stain is a natural choice ...

Discover More

Creating a Chart

Creating a graphic chart based on your worksheet data is easy. Excel provides a number of tools on the Insert tab of the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Finding Fields

Fields allow you to add simple dynamic content to your document. Here's how you can find the fields when you need to know ...

Discover More

Inserting the Date Your Document Was Last Printed

Word keeps track of each time you print your document, and you can automatically insert the last printing date anywhere you ...

Discover More

Entering a "Slashed Zero" in Your Document

Need to add the occasional zero with a slash through it? There are a couple of ways you can accomplish this task.

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 4 + 1?

2014-09-10 08:18:17

Harry Draughon

I have the VBA macro you sent me for 'two spaces after each sentence' but am unsure of how to apply it to my rather long document.
Now, I've recorded and written and used DOZENS of macros in the past -- in Word 2003. I simply don't know how to use this one in Word 2010. Thanx. HD


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.