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How to refresh fields in Microsoft Word

You may occasionally need to manually update information in sections such as table of contents, headers and footers, cross-references, bookmarks, and formulas in tables. In addition, you have the option to update individual fields or all of the fields in your document simultaneously.

If you are new to using MS Word and do not know the difference between text and fields, you can set MS Word to highlight the fields in your document.

Also, to ensure you do not print a document before updating the different fields, you can set MS Word to update all the fields before publishing a document automatically.

Below, we will look at highlighting fields in your document, setting MS Word to automatically update all the fields before allowing for a document to be printed, and then updating fields individually and simultaneously.

Highlighting fields in a document

  • On the ribbon, click ‘File.’
  • From the backstage view, click ‘Options.’
  • A MS Word options dialog box will appear on your screen.
  • Click the ‘Advanced’ option on your left.
  • Another menu will pop up.
  • From it, scroll to the ‘Show document content’ section.
  • Under ‘Field shading,’ select ‘Always.’
  • Click ‘OK.’

Automatically update all the fields before printing

  • On the ribbon, click ‘File.’
  • From the backstage view, click ‘Options.’
  • A Word options dialog box will appear on your screen.
  • Click the ‘Advanced’ option on your left.
  • Another menu will pop up.
  • From it, scroll to the ‘Print’ section.
  • Check the box under ‘Allow fields containing tracked changes to update before printing.’
  • Click ‘OK’ when you are done.

Updating fields individually

  • Open your Word document.
  • Right-click the field you want to update.
  • From the menu, choose ‘Update Field.’

Updating all fields simultaneously

  • Open your Word document.
  • Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select the whole document.
  • Press F9 on your keyboard.
  • If your document has tables with fields or formulas, you have to highlight each table separately.
  • Then, press F9.

Point to note: When you update a Table of Contents, you can either update the entire table or the page numbers exclusively. However, the best option is to update the whole table, so even newly added sections are added to the document. On the other hand, only the existing pages are affected/ refreshed if you update only the page numbers.

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