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!

Selecting Text Vertically In Word

How do I select a block of text over several lines and paragraphs in Word without selecting the whole lines?

I new co-worker of mine introduced this nifty little trick to me yesterday in class. I saw this a long time ago and had forgotten it.

Just hold down the Alt key while you select and you can scribe a block on the page that is selected. It will look like this.

Selecting using Alt in Word

This should also work in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

I find at times that I want to select text vertically on a web page—especially in tables—but Internet Explorer selects the end of the starting row and the entire subsequent rows of the table. Next time, I’m going to select the whole document, paste it into Word and then cut it up how I want to.

Thanks Daphne!

Update All Fields in Word Documents

Automatically update every field element (e.G., Table of Contents, Document Fields, Computed fields, etc.) in a Microsoft Word Document in one motion.

In the business analysis, tech-lead part of my job, I tend to create Word documents that can be used in a "template" way. For example, if I have revision numbers, dates, company names, document titles, etc., I’ll create document fields and place them in the document instead of the actual value. This way, if I want to recycle the document for a different situation, I only need to modify a few key fields and update the document.

However, Word doesn’t give you a way to update all the fields at once. You have to highlight the entire document and then update the various components separately. This includes visiting each set of headers and footers if you happened to use a field like a document title in them.

So, to make life easier for me, I created this little macro that will visit everything in the document and update it. Here’s the source code:

Sub UpdateAllFields()
Dim oStory As Range
Dim oField As Field
  For Each oStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges
    For Each oField In oStory.Fields
    Next oField
  Next oStory
End Sub

Just copy this snippet into your base, Normal.dot. Then, tie the macro to a button on a command bar and you have a one click "Update All" widget!

The next time you want to change something about a document, all you have to do is choose "File Properties", change the field on the custom tab, return to the document and click your snazzy "Update All" button. Presto, new document with different titles, customer names and numbers! With this macro, you’ll be cranking out documents faster than anyone . . .