How to Update Fields in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide for All Users

Updating fields in Word is a straightforward process that helps ensure your document stays accurate and up-to-date. By following a few simple steps, you can refresh all the fields in your Word document, like tables of contents, cross-references, dates, and more.

How to Update Fields in Word

This section will guide you through the steps to update fields in your Word document. It’s a simple process, and by the end, all your fields will display the most current information.

Step 1: Select the entire document

Press Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac) to select all the text in the document.

Selecting the entire document ensures that you capture all the fields that may be scattered throughout your content. This step sets the stage for updating everything at once, saving you time.

Step 2: Update the selected fields

Press F9 on your keyboard.

By pressing F9, you trigger Word to refresh and update all the fields within the selected area. This convenient shortcut applies to tables of contents, cross-references, dates, and more.

Step 3: Right-click specific fields (optional)

If you only want to update a specific field, right-click on it and select "Update Field."

Right-clicking on a specific field gives you the flexibility to update individual fields without affecting the rest of the document. This is particularly useful for making selective changes.

Step 4: Update the table of contents (if any)

Click inside the table of contents and press F9, or right-click and select "Update Field."

Updating the table of contents ensures that any new headings or changes in page numbers are accurately reflected. This is crucial for larger documents where navigation is key.

Step 5: Save your document

Press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac) to save your updated document.

Saving your document after updating fields ensures that all your changes are preserved. It’s a simple yet essential step to finalize your work.

After following these steps, all the fields in your Word document will be updated to reflect the latest information. Any changes in headings, dates, or references will now be accurately displayed.

Tips for Updating Fields in Word

  • Use Print Preview to see how the updated fields will look before printing.
  • Regularly update fields to keep your document accurate, especially during editing.
  • If fields aren’t updating, check if they are locked and unlock them by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F11.
  • Customize your field codes by pressing Alt+F9 to see the underlying code.
  • Avoid manual updates by using field codes that automatically refresh with document changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I unlock a field that won’t update?

Press Ctrl+Shift+F11 to unlock the field and then try updating it again.

Can I update fields automatically?

Yes, you can set Word to update fields automatically when printing by going to File > Options > Display and checking "Update fields before printing."

Why are my fields not updating correctly?

Ensure the fields are not locked and that they are correctly formatted. Check for any hidden text or formatting issues.

How do I update only one field in a document?

Right-click on the specific field you want to update and select "Update Field."

What types of fields can I update in Word?

Fields like tables of contents, cross-references, dates, and custom fields can all be updated.


  1. Select the entire document.
  2. Press F9 to update fields.
  3. Right-click specific fields (optional).
  4. Update the table of contents (if any).
  5. Save your document.


Updating fields in Word is a crucial task that ensures your document remains accurate and professional. Whether you’re working on a report, an essay, or a book, keeping your fields updated can save you time and prevent errors. Remember, fields like tables of contents, cross-references, and dates can quickly become outdated, and a quick refresh can make a world of difference.

If you frequently work with large documents, consider setting Word to automatically update fields before printing. This simple tweak can streamline your workflow and ensure consistency. For specific updates, the right-click and choose "Update Field" option provides a targeted approach.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you ensure your documents are always in tip-top shape. Go ahead, give it a try, and see the difference updated fields can make in your next Word document!