Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Linking Word Documents.

Linking Word Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 4, 2017)


Besides being able to link information from other Windows applications into your document, you can link other Word documents to your current document. This comes in real handy if you are working with a document that needs to pull information from other documents. For instance, you might have a contract that has standard clauses in it. These clauses may be stored in other documents and then be pulled into the contract as necessary. This is done in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the document inserted and linked.
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the down-arrow next to the Object tool within the Text group. Word displays a few choices you can make.
  4. Click Text from File. Word displays the Insert File dialog box.
  5. Specify a filename for the document you want inserted and linked.
  6. Click your mouse on the pull-down arrow at the right side of the Insert button. Word displays a menu of the different ways you can insert the document.
  7. Choose Insert As Link from the menu.

This process results in Word displaying the other file, but the INCLUDETEXT field is used instead of the actual text from the file. The advantage to adding links in this way instead of inserting the other file completely is that the original documents (the ones you are linked to) can be independently updated, and those changes are reflected in the document with the links. (Provided, of course, that you update the links in the document by selecting the link and pressing F9.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11622) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Linking Word Documents.

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 six more than 8?

2016-04-06 14:52:52


Dani: Using relative addressing works in AutoCAD, a CAD drafting software, so it may work in Word as well. Usually the two files must share a common folder a level or two up, but not necessarily the root folder. You can also try keeping the parent document and the daughter document being linked into the parent in the same folder. That way when they move from system to system the path between the files will be the same.

2015-09-27 08:08:40

Ken Endacott

The method described inserts all of the text that is in the source document. However it is possible to insert only selected text, for example specific clauses.

In the source document Clauses.docx, bookmark each clause with unique names such as Clause1, Clause2 etc. To insert only one clause at the insertion point, go through the steps described to insert the text from file Clauses.docx. Then ALT + F9 to display the field which will look like:

{ INCLUDETEXT "C:\MyFolder\Clauses.docx" }

Add the bookmark name after the file name (note that the bookmark name is case sensitive). The field now looks like:

{ INCLUDETEXT "C:\MyFolder\Clauses.docx" Clause2}

Press ALT + F9 and only clause 2 will be displayed.

If the clauses are scattered throughout the document then create the field for Clause1 then copy/paste the field and edit the individual fields to give different bookmark names. Click F9 after each edit to update the field.

2015-05-08 08:40:10


Thanks for the tip, realy helpfull!
I need a PDF-file. When I save the Word-document as PDF, the shortcuts don't work anymore. Any tips?

2015-01-29 14:09:40


Is there any way to include headers and/or footer for the doc that is linked? I'm adding a form to a SOP and the info I need to update is in the header. I can get the link to work, but it doesn't include the header.


2014-10-16 11:28:25


Thank you for this helpful tip.

my question now is: is it possible to link to a file in a relative way, so that if I move all the file structure (for example, on a computer having other root name) all links are keept?
This is helpful since all the structure is located on a SVN server and is downloaded by each user on its own computer with own rootname.

Thank you


2013-08-27 14:11:47


Val: You are correct, it appears that it is just inserting the text. But after you perform the seven steps above, press ALT-F9. You will see the link to the doc. Press it again to toggle.

2013-02-08 04:45:04


You are probably going wrong with step 7. If you click Open rather than Insert As Link it will just copy over the same text.

2012-04-23 13:51:09


I've tried these steps multiple times and the end result is the same--it inserts the text instead of a link. So I had a friend try it, and she had the same experience. Any thoughts on why it doesn't work for us?

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