Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Finding Fields.

Finding Fields

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 21, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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There may be times when you are working in a document and you want to search for fields that the document may contain. There are two very easy ways you can do this. The first is to go to the beginning of the document and simply press the F11 key. This causes Word to jump to the next field in the current document story, regardless of what that field does.

I should stop to explain what a story is. A story can be thought of as a portion of a document. The main document is a story, but there are other stories, as well. Common ones are the header, footer, footnotes, and endnotes. Pressing F11 will find the next field in the story in which the insertion pointer is located. Thus, pressing F11 if your insertion point is in the header will find the next field in the header. This means that you will need to place the insertion point in the story in which you want to find fields.

While pressing F11 may work great if you have only a couple of fields in a document, and they are in a single story, you can also use the Search capabilities in Word to search for fields. You do that by following these steps:

  1. Press Alt+F9. This makes all the field codes in your document visible, instead of the results of those fields.
  2. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find dialog box (Word 2007) or the Navigation pane (later versions of Word).
  3. In the Find What box (Word 2007) or the search box (later versions of Word), enter ^d as what you are searching for (make sure you use a lowercase d). This is the code that Word understands as "any field."
  4. Click on Find Next. Word locates the next occurrence of a field.

Notice step 1, which is required to make this method of searching for fields work. If you don't display the field codes, Word can't find the fields. Of course, you can always use the F11 method, which works whether they are displayed or not. (This seems very inconsistent to me. A field is a field, and should be found when searching for a field, whether it is displayed or not.)

One other inconsistency—the Search method will find fields regardless of the story in which they are located. Thus, it is a good choice if you have a lot of stories and each of those stories has fields with it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9001) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Finding Fields.

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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What is seven more than 9?

2022-03-01 04:15:16

P.K.Chaudhary

This solved my issue of not being able to sort on Headings. I had to remove all fields in the document to prevent the error "cannot sort fields in the selection"


2021-08-09 13:01:20

Geraldina I.

Hi, when I click on F11 the pointer goes straight to the last field. How can I fix this?


2020-11-21 04:57:35

Patricia Caddy

The latest update of Win10 stripped all the empty field codes from my templates. They are empty for a purpose and are used for navigation through the documents. I am using Microsoft 365. Why did this happen?


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