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Looking in, I've found just about as many versions with "Laufenden" as with "laufenden". Is this perhaps something that has changed in the new spelling reform?

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It's "dem" (dative and singular) instead of "den" (accusative or plural). – Jan Sep 23 '11 at 14:46
@Jan »Da muss ich dich aber auf den Laufenden bringen« :-) – Paŭlo Ebermann Sep 24 '11 at 21:43
It depends on the meaning: "Der Preis bezieht sich auf den laufenden Meter" or "Acer campestre: 2-3 Stück auf den laufenden Meter, für mittlere bis hohe Hecken.", but "Auf dem Laufenden sein". – feeela Sep 25 '11 at 17:49
Auf den laufenden Kiptanui würde ich keinen Euro mehr setzen, wenn er sich schon die Seite hält, und japsende Laute ausstößt, außer ich wäre nicht auf dem Laufenden, und hätte nur die Zwischenzeiten von Kilometer 15. – user unknown Sep 25 '11 at 22:13
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes, since the spelling reform, "auf dem Laufenden" is capitalized:

Wörter anderer Wortarten schreibt man groß, wenn sie als Substantive gebraucht werden (= Substantivierungen).

(IDS rules, §57 or Duden rule 72)

The IDS rule (pages 61-52) actually contains that example:

Die Direktorin war auf dem Laufenden.

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Interesting, +1. Would have capitalized it even under the old spelling. – OregonGhost Sep 23 '11 at 20:16

Yes, this has changed with the spelling reform: according to canoo, it was laufenden before and Laufenden after the reform. Quite generally, capitalization has been simplified with the spelling reform – as a rule of thumb, you use a capital letter whenever the word is nominalized. Here the article dem shows us that it is auf dem Laufenden.

The old spelling was more complicated, but it allowed subtle differences: adjectives were often not capitalized when used in the figurative sense. So before the reform it was

Ich bleibe auf dem laufenden.

but (a rather contrieved example, a flea sitting on a runner)

Der Floh bleibt auf dem Laufenden.

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It must be "auf dem Laufenden", according to this Duden rule.

Note the m in "dem".

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