Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Inserting a Cross-Reference to Text.

Inserting a Cross-Reference to Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 20, 2020)

7

Word allows you to insert the text of cross-references in the following manner:

  1. Select the text you want to be cross-referenced.
  2. Assign this text a bookmark name.
  3. Position the insertion point where you want the cross-reference to appear.
  4. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert field brackets. Make sure the insertion point stays between the brackets.
  5. Type ref followed by the name of the bookmark used in step 2.
  6. Press F9 to update the field information. Word replaces the field with the text to which the bookmark was assigned.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11432) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting a Cross-Reference to Text.

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

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What is 3 - 3?

2021-12-11 05:29:43

Ken

Mathew,
Create a bookmark in the new position with the same name, this will remove the bookmark at the old position. REF will then refer to the new bookmark position. However you must update the REF field with F9 (or by other means of updating fields such as show print preview) to display correctly.


2021-12-10 09:23:35

Matthew Schelly

I do weekly reports with a date in the title. I don't use the date today function because I want the date to stay the same whenever I open the report. I'm using this cross-reference routine to update the date in my footer when I copy my document for a new week and I update the date in the title so that the same date is updated in the footer, because sometimes I forget about updating the footer. Using this routine, however requires double-clicking on the copied date in the footer and pressing F9, which I can only do when I remember to do that, which defeats the purpose of the whole routine.

Is there a way to have the cross-reference field automatically update when the bookmark is changed?


2020-12-22 08:54:21

Allen

Spencer,

Close the dialog box after you have created the bookmark. (If you don't, you won't be able to do any of the steps after that.)

When I say "position the insertion point where you want the cross-reference to appear," it means just that -- make sure the insertion point is where you want your cross-reference. (I don't know why that should be confusing or how I could make it any clearer.)

"Against Heresies" is not a valid bookmark name. Word won't allow you to add bookmark names that contain spaces. I'm suspecting that this is the root of the problems you are having with the steps.

-Allen


2020-12-21 17:33:33

Spencer Gear

Could you please help this computer dummy further in using Word 2003's cross-reference procedure? These are my questions:

When I insert the Bookmark and name it, I am left with a dialog box. Should I leave that dialog box open or close it while I proceed with the following? I have to scroll down the page to get to my footnote for cross-referencing.

Position the insertion point where you want the cross-reference to appear. I've done that immediately to the left of the endnote. Is that correct or not? Do I have to place it after the endnote. A dialog box is created for this procedure. It has to be closed to proceed to the next points.

Press Ctrl+F9 to insert field brackets. Make sure the insertion point stays between the brackets. I did that and this is what happened: { }

Within these brackets, I typed ref followed by the name of the bookmark used in step 2.My specifics were: { ref Against Heresies }. The bookmark was Against Heresies. I tried it no space after { and no space before }, no space between ref and Against but it made no difference.

Then I pressed F9 to update the field information. Word replaces the field with the text to which the bookmark was assigned. When I did it, this is what happened: Error! Reference source not found: Error! Reference source not found.

What errors am I making?


2020-08-20 10:10:51

Martin

I use this all the time in forms that are used to track equipment settings. The bookmarks can then also be used in formulas to provide calculated results. If you use a template it can be used to reference a bookmark and place that text in the header or vice versa.
I always insert them as Moray has noted.


2017-04-02 09:51:54

Moray

Torgrim, this is handy when you want to refer to something mentioned elsewhere in the document, and that something isn't a heading and isn't numbered. Mark that something, your target, as a bookmark, then use the steps above to refer to it. Or you can use Insert > Reference, choose Bookmark in the dialog, and choose the bookmark name you've added. Cheers


2017-02-06 06:53:34

Torgrim

What is the use for this? When/for which tasks would you use this?


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