Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References.

Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 16, 2019)

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There are many times when you are putting together a document that you need to make sure that certain references are consistent. For instance, you may need to refer to a particular person's name or a company name, and it is imperative that the references be precise and accurate throughout the document.

There are several ways you can handle this situation using Word. One rather unique way is through the use of document properties. You probably already know that Word maintains a series of properties for your documents. These properties include things such as the size of the document, the last time it was updated, and the like. You can also define custom properties that act like variables for your document. To define a custom property, follow these steps if you are using Word 2010 or a later version:

  1. Click the File tab of the ribbon and make sure that Info is selected at the left side of the screen.
  2. Click the Properties drop-down list and choose Advanced Properties. Word displays the Properties dialog box for the document.
  3. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Custom tab of the Properties dialog box.

  5. In the Name field, specify the name you want associated with this property. This is the name you will later use to reference the property in your document.
  6. Using the Type drop-down list, pick the type of property you are creating.
  7. In the Value field, specify the value of the property.
  8. Click on the Add button. The new property appears in the list of properties in the dialog box.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Close the Document Information Panel.

If you are using Word 2007 the steps are a bit different:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Prepare and, finally, Properties. Word displays the Document Information Panel at the top of your document, just below the ribbon.
  2. Use the Document Properties drop-down list (top-left corner of the Document Information Panel) to choose Advanced Properties. Word displays the Properties dialog box for the document.
  3. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed.
  4. In the Name field, specify the name you want associated with this property. This is the name you will later use to reference the property in your document.
  5. Using the Type drop-down list, pick the type of property you are creating.
  6. In the Value field, specify the value of the property.
  7. Click on the Add button. The new property appears in the list of properties in the dialog box.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Close the Document Information Panel.

Regardless of the version of Word you are using, you are now ready to use the new document property within your document. You do so in this manner:

  1. Position the cursor at the point where you want your reference to appear.
  2. Insert a field by pressing Ctrl+F9.
  3. Within the field, type DOCPROPERTY [name], where [name] is the name of the document property you previously defined.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each occurrence of the value or text.

When you display the field results, Word fetches the contents of your custom document property and displays it in place of the field. If you change the value assigned to the document property and then update the fields in the document, all instances of the reference are updated.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7539) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 3?

2019-07-22 14:16:06

Gene Osten

The las sentence is not quite complete. Most references are updated right away, but if in a header or footer, you need to click "Print" to update values (it is not necessary to actually print..
There are even instances that are not updated until the doc is actually printed (you could use "print to PDF") or saved.


2019-04-16 04:34:45

Isaac Boatright

Thank you! This was just what I needed.


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