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: Selecting a Field.

Selecting a Field

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 21, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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When fields are inserted in your documents, you might need to select an entire field in order to edit it. The quickest way to do this is to simply select the first character of the field. If field codes are visible, the first character is the opening left bracket. If field codes are not visible (field results are instead visible), then you simply select the first character of the result.

When you select the first character, the entire field is selected. This type of selection will work whether you are working with displayed field codes or with field results.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11140) 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: Selecting a Field.

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 two less than 2?

2019-09-03 12:55:01

Karen Prieto

Well go figure - I just stumbled upon a workaround:

* An entire field can be selected by placing the insertion point at the end of the field and hitting Backspace.

* From that point, adjacent fields can be selected via Shift+LeftArrow.

Practical application of this is to insert a series of page references all at once via Alt+i, n, r, select & cut the entire chain, then paste them one by one into the desired positions within the text.

Maybe this will help other readers. Insights are welcome!


2019-09-03 12:45:38

Karen Prieto

Hi Allen,

Thanks for this helpful article.

Last I checked, "select entire field" was a grandfathered option buried within Options> Advanced> Layout of modern Word versions. This item appears to be missing from [my copy of] Word 365's Options, and the default behavior selects the field's characters one-by-one just like any other word. I use/modify embedded fields liberally, and abhor using mouse selection, so this is killing me.

Searches for a solution yield no joy and I speculate that the majority of the Microsoft / Internet community is sadly ignorant of this important functionality. If you know of a secret way to force Word 365 to select entire field, I would be eternally grateful (and much less cranky) if you could please share that...

Kp


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