Update fields in text boxes and shapes

Word 365
Word doesn't always keep up with changes in a document. For example, Word automatically updates fields in text boxes and shapes after insert but doesn't update them after deleting or moving. It is better to update fields manually after such changes.

Update fields in the main document

To update fields in the document, do the following:

   1.   Select a field, a paragraph or block of text with a field, or an entire document (by clicking Ctrl+A).

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • press F9,
  • right-click on any of the fields and select Update Field in the popup menu:
Update Field in popup menu Word 365

If there is a Table of Contents, Table of Figures, Bibliography, Table of Authority, etc. in a selection, after updating fields, Microsoft Word shows the message dialog box:

Update Table of Figures in Word 365   or   Update Table of Contents in Word 365

In the dialog box, select what you need to update. We recommend selecting the Update entire table option always. After selecting, click OK to update an appropriate Table.

Notes: You will see a dialog box for every Table in a selection.

Unfortunately, you can't update fields in text boxes and shapes this way.

Update fields in text boxes and shapes (workaround)

The different embedded objects like text boxes and shapes can also contain fields. For example, you can have caption numberings in shapes or text boxes (see how to create captions for figures, how to create captions for photographs):

Caption for picture in Word 365   or   Caption for photograph in Word 365

When you update all fields in the document, fields in shapes and text boxes are not updated automatically.

To update fields in shapes and text boxes, do one of the following:

  • Select every shape or text box one by one, select its content (by clicking Ctrl+A), and update fields in each object (by pressing F9).
  • Use a macro to update all fields (we don't recommend macros because of security issues).
  • Update all fields by using the following workaround:

   1.   Select or ensure that the Update fields before printing check box is selected:

   1.1.   On the File tab, click the Options button:

Word 365 options

   1.2.   In the Word Options dialog box, on the Display tab, under Printing options, select the Update fields before printing check box, then click OK to close the dialog box:

Update fields before printing in Word 365

   2.   On the File tab, click Print (or press Ctrl+P):

Print in Word 365

You don't need to print the document – only tell Word that you want to print!

   3.   Return to the document view by clicking the Return button:

Return button in Word 365

All fields in the document should be updated.

We strongly recommend checking a document at least visually after changes!

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