Table of contents, page number, list of figures/tables/equations, figure/table/equation number and cross reference are some common example of fields. Sometimes you need to update all fields in Ms Word rather than updating each one by one. There are a couple of ways to do it. However, each method has its limitations and doesn’t update each type of field.
This blog describes the correct procedure that ensure every field are updated correctly.
Different ways to update all fields
Method 1: Print preview
Creating print preview updates all field if set correctly. Use print preview shortcut “Control + P” for Windows or “Command + P” for MacOS. Then press esc to move out of it.
Note: This method updates most of the fields including the ones in header and footer.
Before using this method, you need make sure that update field setting in print option is enabled.
Steps to enable “Update Field”
- Go to Word Options using Files > Options (Windows) or Word> Preferences (MacOS). You can also use MacOS shortcut Command + ,.
- Go to Display Tab > Printing Options Group (Windows) or Print (MacOS) and check box against “Update field before printing” or “Update field”
Limitations of print preview method
Print preview method doesn’t update fields like table of contents and list of figures/tables/equations which need additional user input before updating.
Method 2: Select All and Update
- select all text using “Ctrl +A” and,
- press F9 (shortcut to update field)
This method overcomes limitations of the previous method and updates all the fields in selected text including table of contents and list of figures/tables/equations.
Limitations of select all and update method
The fields in header & footer doesn’t get update as their contents are not selected while selecting all text.
Order in which fields get update
Both the method updates fields in the order in which they appear. In other words, the field which appear earlier gets updated earlier. for e.g. if figure is cross referred before it appears (which is more likely) then the cross reference gets updated before the figure number to which it refers. In such case changed figure number doesn’t get reflected in cross reference after first try to update all field.
How to ensure all fields get updated?
Above order ensures that all the fields (like Table of contents, list of figures/tables/equations, figure/table/equation number along with all cross references and fields in header & footer) gets updated properly.