Stopping Fields from Updating when Printing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 26, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Tony has configured his system so that it doesn't update fields before printing. (This is done in the Word Options dialog box, with the Display options.) However, Tony says that the fields are still updating when he prints or even when he saves as PDF. He wonders how to get Word to really not update fields.

There are actually two places where there are settings in Word that control whether fields are updated. Tony notes the first one, which you get to 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 of the dialog box click Display. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Update Fields Before Printing check box is cleared.

That's the setting that Tony has been changing. There is one other place to look, however. With the Word Options dialog box still open, do the following:

  1. Click Advanced at the left side of the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Scroll down until you see the Print section. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The print settings in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Allow Fields Containing Tracked Changes to Update Before Printing check box is cleared.

That's it. Now there should be no updating of your fields at all before you print your document or when you create a PDF. If, however, something is still updating, then there is one sure-fire way to make sure they don't update. Follow these steps:

  1. Save your document.
  2. Press Ctrl+A. This selects your entire document.
  3. Press Ctrl+F11. This "locks" all fields, so they are not updated.
  4. Print your document or convert it to a PDF file.
  5. Close the document without saving.

If you desire, you could instead press Shift+Ctrl+F9 in step 3. This shortcut converts all fields to regular text. Either way, though, should work just fine. The idea is that you are stopping the fields from updating (or making it so they cannot update), then printing, and then closing the document. Since you saved the document in step 1, you can then open that saved document and your fields will still be intact.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13908) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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 7 - 6?

2023-08-28 12:17:21

Tony Gaimari

Thanks. I changed the two field options, but the fields still updated. I knew about the conversion option but not about the Lock Option. However, I tried to use it to Unlock, and it didn't work. I was able to open the Edit Field window and after doing nothing, it seemed to have unlocked it and it was back to being able to update (and updating when printing/saving as PDF).

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