Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 an Item in a List.

Inserting a Cross-Reference to an Item in a List

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 28, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


In other issues of WordTips you learn how to sequentially number elements of your document. Word also allows you to cross-reference to sequentially numbered items. For instance, you could have a cross-reference in text to a specific table or figure. (Tables and figures are often sequentially numbered.) This is done by following these steps:

  1. Select the sequence field you want to cross-reference.
  2. Assign a bookmark to the field.
  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 seq followed by the name of the element you are cross-referencing (these two things are the entire field used as the sequence field in step 1, followed by the bookmark name used in step 2. Thus, if the sequence field you want to cross reference is seq figures and you assigned it a bookmark name of Figures09, then the cross-reference would be seq figures Figures09.)
  6. Press F9 to update the field information. Word replaces the field with the next number in the sequence you have specified.

If the cross-reference is specifically to an item in a numbered list, you can insert the cross-reference in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the cross-reference to appear.
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Cross-Reference tool, within the Links group. Word displays the Cross-Reference dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Reference Type drop-down list is set to Numbered Item. The list items should then be displayed in the bottom of the dialog box.
  5. In the list of items, select the item for which you want a cross-reference.
  6. Set other options in the dialog box as desired.
  7. Click on Insert. Word inserts the cross-reference as desired.
  8. Click on Close to dismiss the Cross-Reference dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13031) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting a Cross-Reference to an Item in a List.

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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