Word 2007 Updates Entire Document On Its Own

Why is Word 2007 updating everything in my entire document to look like the small change I just made to one section or portion of my document?

I’ve been struggling with fixing all of the bizarre, out-of-the-b0x behavior that I got when I upgraded from Word 2003 to Word 2007. One of the things that has been driving me nuts all day is when I select a few lines of code, and make a change, such as adding bullet points, suddenly the entire document gets instantly modified in the same way. In this case, filled with bullet points! This is not what I was going for.

Figuring it had something to do with styles, I studied them for a while and noticed this interesting check box near the bottom of the Modify Style dialog box named "Automatically update" (shown below) .


Now . . . good luck finding anything about this in the snazzy new online help with no index. I tried searching for it by name and adding Modify Style to the search criteria but to no avail. And, no, clicking the question mark up there and hovering over the checkbox or clicking on it won’t pull up anything on that check box either. Neither will highlighting the field and pressing F1. I guess context sensitive help is too 90’s for Word now.

So, being the ol’skool hacker that I am, I just played around with it a little while and discovered that if you are working on a piece of text that has a style on it and the style has this checkbox checked, any changes you make to the text formatting-wise in the document will automatically update the style and subsequently change everything in the document tagged with that style! Wicked huh?

When I discovered this, I quickly looked at my Normal style and sure enough, the check box was checked. So, I unchecked it and the problem was solved.

Consequently, on the Normal style, after I unchecked the box, the entire check box disappeared from the Modify Style dialog box for that style altogether. Interesting eh?

I think this is telling and I’m willing to bet there is a bug in there somewhere when loading documents from previous versions of Word.

So, watch out for this. I have now taken the time to go back to all of my styles in the document and uncheck the checkbox above and life has been much better since.

I hope this helps you. Let me know if it does!

3 thoughts on “Word 2007 Updates Entire Document On Its Own

  1. Thx very much, this was driving me crazy until I came across your post

  2. Well done that person.

    This was also driving me nuts. Why oh why oh why, by default, would I want bullet style applied to my entire document??????

    99% of the time I would not want this.


  3. This is very helpful. Now if I can only locate that Manage Styles dialog box. The new version of Word decreased my productivity by 10% because they made the commonly used items so hard to find.

    thank you intrepid old-school hacker. Once I locate the right box, you will have saved me some time.

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