Cross-Reference Removes Superscript Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 4, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Yossi has some text that uses superscripts. He can bookmark that text, but if he creates a cross-reference to that bookmarked text, the cross-reference shows the text without the superscript. (The superscript is there; it just shows as regular, unsuperscripted text.) The MERGEFORMAT and CHARFORMAT switches don't solve the issue.

In this case, you wouldn't want to use either the MERGEFORMAT or CHARFORMAT switches in the cross-reference field. These switches are used to help the field results maintain any formatting that you manually applied to the result. In other words, they have nothing to do with the formatting of your original bookmarked text, which included superscripting.

The solution is to minimize what is in the REF field. Here is an example of the field code that Word would normally insert when you add the cross-reference:

{ REF MyBookmark \h \* MERGEFORMAT }

In order to see your superscripts, you need to remove the MERGEFORMAT switch, like this:

{ REF MyBookmark \h }

With this change in place, update the field and you should see the superscript appear. However, you should understand that removing the switch may also result in any other character formatting in your original (bookmarked) text being carried over to the cross-reference. If this produces a result that disrupts the appearance of your text, the solution is to put the MERGEFORMAT switch back in and, instead, manually format the cross-reference to include the superscript.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12895) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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 9 + 4?

2022-06-06 07:35:25

Cherith Harrison

What a coincidence. I just encountered this issue for the first time in my (ahem) long career last week and was puzzled (and frustrated) by the superscript removal. , I just manually applied the superscript - now I know!

Thank you!

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