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: Special Characters in Fields.

Special Characters in Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 22, 2018)

When you are using fields in your documents, you may have a need to include the quote mark and the backslash in the field definition. Unfortunately, these characters have special meaning, and may not be interpreted the way you intend. Consider, for example, the following field:

{ QUOTE "You should use "Y" or "N" in your response" }

When you use this, you get exactly what you expect: a full phrase (including quote marks) in the field result. Consider the following example, however:

{ FILLIN "You should use "Y" or "N" in your response" }

When this field result is displayed, you see an input box. However, the entire prompt does not appear. You only see the text "You should use " in the input box. Similar problems are manifested when you try to use backslashes with some fields.

To get around the problem, you need to get in the habit of using a backslash before any quote or backslash you want included in the field, as in the following:

{ FILLIN "You should use \"Y\" or \"N\" in your response" }

This approach informs Word that you want the quote marks (or backslashes, if you use \\) displayed as literal characters.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12421) 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: Special Characters in 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Fixing the Decimal Point

Don't want to always type the decimal point as you enter information in a worksheet? If you are entering information that ...

Discover More

Can't Use Hyperlinks

Before some features in Excel can function properly, you must have the correct permissions set for the user of the ...

Discover More

Saving Excel Configuration Settings

Excel lets you change lots of settings that affect the configuration of your system. At some point you may want to save ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Monday's Date on Friday's Report

Automatically putting today's date at the top of a report is easy. Putting a different date, automatically, can be more ...

Discover More

Understanding the COMPARE Field

The COMPARE field is rather esoteric, but it can be helpful when you need to compare two values using fields. The result ...

Discover More

Differences between SEQ and LISTNUM Fields

Word provides several different fields you can use for custom numbering in a document. Two of the most commonly used are ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

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 eight less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.