5 Things Microsoft Word Can Update Automatically for You

Joe Keeley 27-10-2016

Microsoft Word can help you be time efficient Using Microsoft Word? Here's How To Become a Time-Saving Ninja Over the years, Microsoft Word has become one of the best word processors in the world. I'm sure there are people out there that disagree - particularly Linux or Mac folks who would really rather... Read More . It can automate a number of time consuming processes, ensuring you spend less time messing around and more time writing.


Whether it’s finding and replacing words, inserting an automatically updated time and date, or just keeping the program itself up to date, we’ll show you some of the things that Word can automatically update for you.

If you have your own tip to share then please be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

1. Date and Time

It’s very easy to insert the current date and/or time into your Word document and have it automatically update every time the file is opened or printed. To do this, navigate to the Insert tab and then click Date & Time, which can be found within the Text category. A new window will open where you can select what type of date and time format you wish to insert into the document. Select one, then tick Update automatically, then click OK.

Microsoft Word -- Date and Time

Note that this field won’t update in real time as you type. Instead, you need to click into the field and click Update. Bear in mind that whenever someone else opens the document, they’re going to see their current date and time, not the one which was set when you saved it. If you don’t want it to automatically update anymore, click into the field and press Ctrl + Shift + F9.


2. Spelling and Grammar

Who needs to bother learning how to spell things nowadays when we have spell checkers How to Spell and Grammar Check in Microsoft Word You can customize Microsoft Word's built-in spelling and grammar checking tools to meet your needs. You can even use AutoCorrect to speed up your typing. Read More ?

Word makes things even easier by automatically correcting a vast number of common mistakes, along with other helpful features, like capitalizing words where appropriate and applying formatting to symbols.

Microsoft Word -- Autocorrect

To adjust these settings, or enable them if you’ve got it turned off, navigate to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options… This will open a new window with various tabs. It’s worth exploring each to see what’s possible. For example, the AutoCorrect tab will allow you to add, edit and delete words which will get automatically corrected. Elsewhere, the AutoFormat tab will let you automatically create bullet point lists or turn hyphens into dashes.


3. Find and Replace

If there’s a word or phrase that appears throughout your document which you now need to replace en masse, don’t go through them individually and do it. Word can automatically update all instances for you. To get started, press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace window.

Microsoft Word -- Find and Replace

There’s two fields to input: Find what and Replace with. Put the existing word or phrase in the former and the replacement in the latter. When ready, hit Replace All to change every instance or just Replace to take them in turn. You can also click More to get more advanced options, like match case, wildcards, and words that sound similar.

4. Links to Other Files

Word functions well with other Office programs and allows you to embed some elements from them within your documents. The best example of this is with Excel, which allows you to embed tables, graphs, and more How to Integrate Excel Data Into a Word Document During your work week, there are probably lots of times that you find yourself copying and pasting information from Excel into Word, or the other way around. This is how people often produce written reports... Read More .


If you want, whenever you update that element in the other program, it can be automatically updated within your Word document too.

Microsoft Word -- Options

This feature can be found by going to File > Options > Advanced. Then scroll down to the General heading and tick Update automatic links at open. Every time you open the document, Word will ask whether you want to update the linked elements within. This is extremely useful to ensure that the data remains in sync, but remember you can just untick this box if you don’t want the automatic update to occur.

If you’re often using Excel alongside Word, be sure to check out our advice on must-have Word and Excel skills 5 Microsoft Word & Excel Skills You Must Have to Succeed at the Office "Get that report to me, ASAP!" A core set of Microsoft Excel and Word tricks can make this task less stressful and help you whiz up a stylish report in no time. Read More .


5. The Program Itself

Microsoft Office 2016, the latest version of the suite, automatically updates itself depending what update branch you’re on. This is similar to how Windows 10 updates Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More , though unlike the operating system the updates aren’t mandatory.

The Current Branch is a monthly update with new features, security patches and bug fixes. The Current Branch for Business provides the same on a four-monthly basis, allowing any problems to be resolved before they hit enterprises.

Microsoft Office Updates

To check your update settings, load Word and navigate to File > Account. From here, click the Update Options button to Update Now, Disable Updates (though this isn’t recommended) and View Updates to see the update history.

For more information on all this, check our guide to automatic updates in Office 2016 Automatic Updates in Microsoft Office 2016 Explained Microsoft Office 2016 will be running an auto-update feature and a number of different servicing branches similar to Windows 10. Let’s explore what that means for your Office 2016 installation. Read More .

Automatic Is Better Than Manual

Automating as much as you can is excellent. Even if you’re only saving a few seconds in the moment, if it’s an action often repeated then that time will mount up. Plus it just makes life that bit easier when you don’t have to do things manually.

If you’re looking for even more great Word tips, be sure to check out our articles on Word features to make your life easier 10 Hidden Features of Microsoft Word That'll Make Your Life Easier Microsoft Word wouldn't be the tool it is without its productive features. Here are several features that can help you every day. Read More and simple Word hacks that everyone can do 10 Simple Microsoft Word Hacks Everyone Can Do Our knowledge about Microsoft Word is tested every time we get a document to work on. Every little tip learnt along the way helps. How about ten more tricks for your daily productivity? Read More . You’ll become a master of Word in no time.

Do you use any of the above tips to save time in Word? Do you know of other things that can be automated in Word?

Related topics: Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office Tips, Microsoft Word.

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    October 28, 2016 at 9:27 am

    this is very good post