How to Toggle Field Codes Off or On in Microsoft Word

A few days ago a customer contacted me with a Microsoft Word 2007 problem. Codes such as “{ HYPERLINK “mailto:testuser@test.local” }” and “{ DATE @ “MMMM d, yyyy” }” were showing up in one of their documents. This problem is due to “Field Codes” being somehow toggled on. If the problem is with a single document, toggle the field codes off or on by first selecting the entire document with (cntl+a) and then toggle the field codes off or on with (shift-F9). (Alt-F9) also toggled the field codes off and on from the machine I was using.

If the problem is with all documents, then the “Show field codes instead of their values” option has been selected under “Word Options>Advanced” in the “Show document content” section:

If the field codes are not showing up on the screen, but show up in print preview and they are printing on all documents instead of the actual data, then the “Print field codes instead of their values” option has been selected under “Word Options>Advanced” in the “Print” section:


About Mike F Robbins

Mike F Robbins is a Microsoft MVP on Windows PowerShell and a SAPIEN Technologies MVP. He is a co-author of Windows PowerShell TFM 4th Edition and is a contributing author of a chapter in the PowerShell Deep Dives book. Mike has written guest blog articles for the Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog, PowerShell Magazine, and He is the winner of the advanced category in the 2013 PowerShell Scripting Games. Mike is also the leader and co-founder of the Mississippi PowerShell User Group. He blogs at and can be found on twitter @mikefrobbins.
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80 Responses to How to Toggle Field Codes Off or On in Microsoft Word

  1. Ase says:

    Hi, Thanks for this helpful information I was getting desperate not finding the fieldcodes. However I toggel betweeen Show and Hide the fieldcodes rather frequently and therefore I added the Show Fieldcodes symbol {a} to the quick menue at the top.
    I have a Swedish version of Word so I´m not sure what the meny options are called in the English version. But here is what you do to get the {a} symbol available with one click only:
    Right-click on the menubar. Top choice is Personalize(?) the ???toolbar? , there if you chose to see all possible otions you can find the Show Fieldcodes (??) option marked with the familiar {a} symbol in the list of all the goodies you can make available on your personal Toolbar. Add the Show Field codes to your Quickbar (?) at the very top of Word (where you by default find Save and Undo/Redo. Then you get a OneClick Toggel of the field codes.

  2. Gurumeet Kaur Khalsa says:

    Can you advise how do you toggle field codes in Microsoft word 2010? I used to be able to right click over the field to edit text or toggle on and off. In 2010 it does not work? Thank you!

  3. Wiwi says:

    Man, you made me happy! I am not sure how it happened, but the field codes were constantly toggled on. I searched at least a week about this problem, couldn´t find any more than “Uh, use shift F9”. You rescued my day!

    Thanx says Wiwi

  4. Wayne Hodgkinson says:

    Man I needed this. After installing, then 1 hour later uninstalling EndNote X2, I was having some grief with the “Toggle codes” feature of MS Word 2010. All fixed now

  5. Linda says:

    Doesn’t work for me. My XE index field codes won’t go away with any of these hints. Microsoft help says to toggle Show/Hide, but this command doesn’t appear anywhere. When I right click inside the field (which is dotted underlined, bracketed, and has the words, { XE “word” } I get no Show/Hide commmand. Nothing toggles it. Nothing makes it go away. It doens’t appear in print, but I need it out of my document without erasing them.

  6. jamie m says:

    How to Toggle Field Codes Off or On in Microsoft Word

    GAWD….. fixed…….. thank you :)

  7. Nueng says:

    Hi Mike,
    Thank you so much for this helpful information.
    After read, can fixed this problem.

  8. Catla says:

    Thans a lot for the information, it really was very helpful to me.
    Good luck and have a nice day :)

  9. Libby says:

    Great info! I thought I could resolve my issue. But, in the Show Document Content section, the “Show field codes instead of their values” is selected, but also grayed over. I cannot deselect that item. Do you have teaching to help me activate that item so I can deselect it? Thanks.

    • Dwayne says:

      Libby I had the same issue. to resolve i opened a new document then clicked on
      file>options>advanced>scrolled down to show document content> then unchecked.
      this worked for me

  10. Rehan says:

    Thank you so much, I was about to send the final document for review and accidentally turned on the field codes. Your solution worked for me, however Alt+F9 is better than Shift+F9 in Word 2010 because with Shift+F9 after you update the contents of table, it will put these field codes back in.

  11. Paul Crepeau says:

    Thanks for the solution. This was drive me nuts.

  12. Ken says:

    Thanks very much. I have a new computer with WORD 2010 and was going nuts trying to correct the problem.. I knew there had to be a simple solution, but just couldn’t find it until I reviewed your blog.

  13. Ken says:

    Thanks very much. I knew there was a simple solution–but couldn’t figure it out until came across your blog.

  14. Michael says:

    GREAT! Mike F Robbins you are a ROCK STAR!!!
    Thank you for this solution.

  15. Helen says:

    Thanks. I am right at the end of writing a book and this happened and I didn’t know what to do. It’s people like you who ‘save the lives’ of people like me at such times and I just want you to know that sharing your expertise like this is really kind and I’m so grateful.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for posting such a useful article. If only the mysterious powers at Microsoft still wrote online help systems that were actually helpful, as helpful as your blog.

    I have another problem, and I bet you know the answer. I’m using Word 2010 and I need to be able to find my _broken_ hyperlinks. I broke them on purpose – I removed two chapters because those features got moved to a newer product we make. However, I still need to update the manual for what’s left of the old product. I don’t need to fix the broken hyperlinks. I just need to be able to find them efficiently so I can delete or rewrite the sentences they reside in. The document is 600 pages, so I’m hoping there’s an automated way to find only the broken hyperlinks.

    Thanks in advance!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    PS. I just discovered (duh) that once I toggle the field codes to display, using ALT + F9, now I can used Advanced Find and search for “HYPERLINK” and find each hyperlink.

    But is there a way to find only the broken ones?

    Many thanks!

  18. Debra says:

    Thank you so very much. This had been driving me crazy!

  19. Kat says:

    But what do you do when your F9 is the volume key? I haven’t found a non-F9 solution, nor have I found how to change my F9 key to be non-volume related.

  20. jd says:

    Thanks so much u make ma life easy cse i was in trouble with toggle field codes almost for two months.

  21. Steve says:

    Thanks! You might need to do a separate Alt-F9 for codes in the header or footer.

  22. Philippe Crouzet says:

    Thanks for clues, however it seems there is a bug in W2010 (as before). In some docs, where the linked elements are missing (e.g. because moved without the alinked docs folder), the place where link is broken does not respond to any try and remains with this bloody red cross.
    the link actually exisit and can be updated, at this time it becomes possible to read the field code.
    extremelly unpracticall since when word accepts toggling, a simple replace “wrong address ” “good address” would update all the links at once. I sep,t a lot of time with a “working copy” (toggling operates) to update a text-edited copy where links were changed to different folder!!!

  23. tim says:

    thanks mate!
    I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying to get rid of that annoying problem which just popped up!

  24. Pramail says:

    Thank you very much. It worked.

  25. Liza says:

    I am having an issue with inserting fields and toggling in msword 2003. This is not an issue with msword 2007, but the system I am now is XP windows, msword 2003, and I can’t get fields in and toggle between them? Help

  26. sukriti says:

    thanks a ton,
    ur solution has helped me to solve my problem related to toggle field codes !!!!!!!

  27. Ro says:

    Thanks so very much! And, I am sure, my professor would thank you too!

  28. Dave Mulholland says:


  29. You just saved my sanity. Checking preferences is kind of like the “is it plugged in” fix for the 21st century. I was going nuts. Thanks, dude.

  30. Kerry Duff says:

    Thank you, your solution with Alt F9 saved my mind. It is so frustrating when you somehow turn something on and then can’t work out how to turn it off.

  31. Rajeshwari says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful simple solution. I was getting annoyed with this problem. You made my work easier

  32. thisismyname says:

    thanks – v. helfpul

  33. ASN says:

    Thans a lot for the information, it really was very helpful to me.
    Good luck and have a nice day

  34. Valeria Bender Braulio says:

    Than you very much, it worked for me, Valeria from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Thank you, I was struggling with this for months and today I managed to overcome this problem thanks to you. May God bless you, I’ve put into my favorites. Valeria from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

  35. Kevin says:

    Thanks!!! It worked for me. I was struggling to find a solution to this problem and i was going MAD!!!. Thanks very much.

  36. Jagdish D Sangle says:

    Thankss it’s workss………………….. :)

  37. Riccardo Baldinotti says:

    Thanks from me,too. And thanks to St.Internet.

  38. Mr. Boo says:

    It worked, Thank you very much.

  39. santosh says:

    Brilliant…its really helpful

  40. Simple, easy explanation. {**THANK YOU!**}

  41. Edvard Jorgensen says:

    Thanks. Useful and well written.

  42. john says:

    thaks a lot the information related to toggle field codes on and OFF was very much helpfull

  43. ROBOT says:

    YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER. THANKS SO MUCH. I was having so much trouble with field codes and your article helped me solve it. I really appreciate your clear description and excellent descriptions. I will be back often.

  44. ray&jane says:

    Many thanks; solved the problem immediately. Just got to find the gremlin who ticked the box in the first place!!!

  45. Liz Hamlin says:

    That’s really funny. None of the above work for me with citations in a document, all with the field codes showing. No way to toggle off.

  46. Alisha Fitch says:

    How you create a default field code? For instance, I would like to have the page number spelled out not a numeric value. I know the field code “PAGE\*CardText\*FirstCap” but would like it to do that every time I have to add a page number instead of having to edit the field code for the page number. ANY HELP would be appreicated!!

  47. JT says:

    My field code for total number of pages doesn’t work when I press the Print button. It auto updates when I click update field, but when I choose print, my print preview doesn’t shows the total number of pages. I have input it in my cover page and not on the footer.. anyone can help?

  48. Stefan Sigfried says:

    I have a curious problem with field codes. About at the same time that Office 2013 was introduced field codes for indexes started displaying in the adobe acrobat files that I generate from Word 2010 using the save as pdf option.

    For instance a text:
    “through the fractional reserve system that is”
    would become:
    “through the fractional reserve system{ XE “fractional reserve system” } that is”
    in the generated .pdf file.

    I have checked that the field codes are not toggled on, and also made the additional checks as outlined above:
    “Word Options>Advanced” in the “Show document content”
    “Word Options>Advanced” in the “Print” section:

    Because I had a similar problem with my Word 2007 when Office 2010 was introduced I was starting to suspect Microsoft was using some type of planned obsolescence. (That time equations suddenly failed to appear in my adobe acrobat files and were replaced with blank space. A problem that was fixed when I purchased the new edition of Office …)

    However, I recently installed the same Word 2010 on a computer that I upgraded with a new motherboard for my son. On that computer everything works just fine and no field codes appear in the adobe acrobat generated files. (I have of course tried to reinstall Office 2010 on my own computer, but the error appears there immediately after the reinstall.)

    Anyone out there with a clue as to what is going on?

    For instance, is there any possibility that something should be changed in the registry for this error to disappear?

  49. Brandon says:

    Worked great!

    thanks for posting this.

  50. Christine Agostino says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  51. Roberta Lawrence says:

    You are awesome……I was thinking about opening the door and tossing the whole thing.
    Thank you

  52. Thanks Man!

    I was almost going back to the 2010.

    Saved my Life haha

  53. So now that I caqn toggle, how do we restart the “total Pages” count (e.g., 10 of 10 in Section 1 where we have Sections 2+

  54. Laura says:

    Thank you so much, Mike! You literally saved my life with this simple fix. You’re amazing!

  55. hamed says:

    Thank you so very much. This had been driving me crazy!

  56. Tomas says:

    Thanks man you really help my….it was a nightmare to toggle off every time I opened the document I was working with

  57. Nick Thompson says:

    Mike you have made my day!!

  58. Kapil Verma says:

    Thanks a lot Mike :)

  59. Abu Baker Tamboul says:

    I really do not how to thank you. You cannot imagine how I was frustrated and disappointed? You made to sleep at 03:00 am. I was excepting not to sleep. You saved my time.
    Thank you again and again

  60. John says:

    Thank you very much ! It was very helpful !!!

  61. Jace says:

    Mike, how do I prevent the user from deleting away the field codes which I have inserted into the document? Many of them don’t know how to update the field codes, they manually delete away my field codes and key in the data manually…

  62. Frank says:

    Man, you made me happy! I am not sure how it happened, but the field codes were constantly toggled on. Thank You!!

  63. Ann says:

    THANK YOU! This has been a problem for a month. My IT dept had no clue how to help me!

  64. Jim R says:

    Can someone explain why a “current page” of “total number of pages” field code is displayed as 1 of 1, and only updates in print preview or when you click on the footer?

  65. Yvonne says:

    Thank you. You save my day. Is really helpful.

  66. Ahmad says:

    Thanks. A great help!

  67. jnp says:

    Nice, thanks!

  68. David says:

    Thank you ! It is very helpful for me.!

  69. ducky! How do you do it on a mac?

  70. CJ74 says:

    I get “Error! Reference Source not Found” when I print word doc… Any ideas how to fix?

  71. As above, also need to know how to do this on mac. I’ve tried opt f9 but nothing happens. TIA!

  72. Janakiraman says:

    Toggle problem solved… Great.. This helps me a lot…

  73. After indexing a Word document, instead of links appeared the XE codes throughout all files. Now it is solved. Thank you very much!!!

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