Bookmark Error when Printing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 29, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Neville is trying to print documents and, at times, he'll see the message "Error! Bookmark not defined!" in the printout. This only happens on some documents, but he doesn't understand why it is happening.

Bookmarks can be used for any number of purposes in a document. The first thing you need to do is figure out where the error is occurring. For instance, is it happening in a table of contents, table of authorities, or an index? All of these rely on bookmarks to work properly. If you see this message in one of these special elements, simply update the fields in your document (press Ctrl+A and then press F9) and the message should rectify itself.

You may also see the error if you try to copy a special element (such as a table of contents) to a blank document. Since the element relies on references that are not in that blank document, you'll see the error message.

If a bookmark was used to create a cross-reference in the document and you see the error at the place where the cross-reference should appear, then it means that the bookmark referenced in the cross-reference field is no longer valid. This may occur if the bookmark was deleted or if the bookmark name was mistyped in the cross-reference field. The only way around the problem is to delete the cross-reference field or make sure that the bookmark it references actually exists in the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13416) 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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