Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Before you send a document…

Most people run spelling and grammar checks on their documents before sending them to clients, collaborators and other people.

If you use more sophisticated tools in Word (like cross-references, tables of contents and page numbers, generally known as fields), you also need to:

  • make sure the fields all link to the right places in your document (in other words, all links are updated)
  • check your document for broken links

To both update your document and find any broken links, follow these steps.

  1. Save your document as is.
  2. Select everything in the document. (The Edit menu offers a Select All option, or you can use the Control-A keyboard shortcut.)
  3. Right-click in your document and choose Update Field. All your fields (table of contents, cross-references and so forth) are now updated EXCEPT FOR any fields in the header or footer.
  4. Print preview your document. This step updates fields in your header and footer.
  5. Search your document for any occurrence of the word “ERROR”. (Word flags any broken fields using this word.)
  6. If you find any such errors, you can fix them on the spot.
  7. If the only instances of the word “error” you find are ones you typed, all fields in your document ought to display correctly.
  8. If the document REALLY matters, print it and read it.