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Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents



I just moved a paragraph in my research paper, and now my Table of Contents and footnotes are not correct! Has this ever happened to you? How many times have you composed a long Word document, only to have a simple edit screw up your numbered elements?

You need to harness the power of cross-references. Whether your document is a brief, a pleading, a research paper, or your new novel, Word cross-references will solve many of your problems.

Bookmarks

The primary use I have found for Word bookmarks is to make a Table of Contents for your document in progress. I have used this method for things such as class outlines, research papers, and briefs.

To use this method, simply follow these steps:

Insert Bookmarks

Bookmark Add

At every place in your document where you want to cite a Table of Contents entry, insert a bookmark. This includes Chapters, Sections, etc.

To insert a bookmark, place your cursor in the title of the section/chapter and select Insert, Bookmark. Then provide a name for your bookmark and click “Add” (note that bookmark names cannot contain spaces). Shortcut to open the Add Bookmark window: ALT+I, K.

Now just add bookmarks for every entry that you want in your Table of Contents. For ease, you can do this while you are writing. This keeps you from forgetting a section or chapter, especially for longer documents.

Create Table of Contents

Bookmark Reference

Go to where you want your Table of Contents and type your headings in the format you desire. Where you want a page number to appear, select Insert, Reference, Cross-reference. From the menu, select “Bookmark” and then “Page number”, select the appropriate bookmark, and then click “Insert.”

As if by magic, the page number for the bookmark will appear where you had your cursor. You can then do this for each entry in your Table of Contents.

Update Before Printing

When you have finished editing your document, the final key step to having a perfect Table of Contents is to select it, right click, and select “Update Field.” This ensures that Word has updated your page numbering to account for any changes you might have made. Be sure to do this before you print or otherwise finalize your document.

Footnotes

Don’t we all love to write research papers? Ah, the joy of footnotes in the morning. With the quick tips I’m going to give you, you’ll be on your way to footnote freedom soon.

Footnote Reference

The main tip here is that when you need to cite one footnote from another (Blue Book anyone?), cross-references provide the best way to do it.

In the footnote you want to cite from, place your cursor where you want the destination footnote number to appear. Now select Insert, Reference, Cross-reference, and select Footnote. This window will place the footnote number of the footnote that you select into your document.

Of course, the beauty of this is that if you move the footnotes around, Word will automatically update the numbering. Isn’t that spiffy?


Do you have any nifty tips to maximize Word’s power when doing lengthy documents? Please post a comment or drop me a line.

UPDATE – 1-27-2007 – Dani wrote in, asking about updating her linked footnote numbers. I tried to help, but she really solved the problem herself, discovering a weird Word “feature” in the process. Read about it here: Reader Question – Update Cross-Reference Footnote Numbers in Word

[tags]legal andrew, microsoft word, word, bookmark, footnote, cross-reference, legal research, blue book[/tags]

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40 Responses to “Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents”

  1. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  2. MamaDuck
    September 19th, 2006

    Oh, that is very cool! Our list is up as well if you’d like to check it out!!

  3. Jersey Girl
    September 19th, 2006

    OH

  4. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  5. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  6. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  7. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  8. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  9. Ken
    September 23rd, 2006

    It’s amazing how many features MW Word has that people like me don’t know about or know how to use.

  10. Andrew F
    September 23rd, 2006

    Ken,

    I am continually amazed by Word myself. The sad thing is that I never know about things like this until I get so fed up with something I start looking for a better way to do it. Then I kick myself that it was there under my nose the whole time.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope you found these tips useful.

  11. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  12. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  13. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  14. [...] Harness the Power of Word Cross-References for Mammoth Documents by Andrew [...]

  15. Mary Whisner
    November 6th, 2006

    Great tips, Andrew!

    I like to use hypertext links.

    When I’m creating the document, I use Word’s headings (e.g., instead of “Normal” font, I use “Heading 1,” which make nice big letters and also makes hyperlinking easy). Then I create a list of headings at the start of the document.

    To insert the links, I highlight the name of a heading, right click & choose hyperlink (or ctrl-K, for keyboard shortcutters), and then choose Place in this Document (alt-A). Magically, there’s a list of my headings. (It even shows up as a nested outline, if I’ve used Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3.) I just choose the one I want and there’s the link.

    I also create a bookmark at the start of the list of headings. Scattered throughout the document, I put in “[list of topics]” and link back to that bookmark. That way, I can go from the top to a heading in the middle, then quickly go back to the top.

    If I move one of the headings (and the material that follows), the link stays good.

    One sample use: I have a Word document with various citations of articles and books I’ve come across that I mean to read sometime or I’ve read — and a few that I’ve read whose citations I want to keep track of. I group the citations loosely — Legal History, Civil Rights, Law & Popular Culture. When I see another citation I want to add, I open up my readlist.doc, click on the appropriate heading to go to the right section, and paste. Then I can return to whatever I was doing.

    – Mary

  16. Andrew F
    November 6th, 2006

    Mary,

    I LOVE this idea. I honestly have never gotten into this feature of Word. I really never even use styles at all in Word. When I read your technique, I was trying to think of an application for this. Then you provided one! I’ll have to give this idea a try.

    Thanks for commenting,
    Andrew

  17. Mike
    November 28th, 2006

    Why not just use headings and then use the table of contents feature of word for creation of the TOC? If you use headings correctly (heading I for major sections, heading II for minor ones, etc…) then the TOC creation is easy as pie… seems far simpler than what you suggest here.

    mike.

  18. Andrew F
    November 28th, 2006

    Mike,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your input about using headings for a Word TOC. That is a great point. I suppose it’s a trade-off between ease of use and customization. But then, aren’t so many things that way with technology?

    Thanks again,
    Andrew

  19. Gareth
    December 18th, 2006

    This is all good, I use cross-referencing all the time. However I am currently trying to work out how to cross-reference a section of another document (i.e. see section 4.4.4.9 in …) and have it linked to that section in the other document, is there an easy way to do this?

    Thanks in advance,

    Gareth.

  20. Andrew Flusche
    December 18th, 2006

    Gareth,

    I’m glad you liked the post I wrote up. Thanks for commenting!

    I think I have a solution for you:

    * In the document you want to link TO, create a bookmark in the spot to where you want to jump
    * In the main document (where you want to link FROM), select your text that you want to be a link (“4.4.4.9″)
    * Select Insert –> Hyperlink
    * Browse to the second document (the one you are linking TO) and select it
    * Now click the “Bookmark” button on the right side of the window* Select the bookmark you created in the first step
    * Click “OK” to save your changes, and your link should appear

    I’m using Word 2003, so I have no clue if this will work in previous versions.

    Please let me know if this helps. Hopefully I’ll have some time soon to write a post about it, with screenshots, assuming it works for you.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Andrew

  21. [...] recently received a great question from a reader, Dani. I’m guessing she reading my post on using Word cross-references, since that’s the topic of her question. Here’s what she asked: When I use the [...]

  22. CW
    March 21st, 2007

    Regarding the December 18, 2006 note (Gareth). Using WORD 2003, I am able to use a hyperlink in document A to open and point to a bookmark in Document B provided the two documents are on my local drive.

    The problem I’m having is that the intended ‘home’ for these documents is on a web server and the documents will be in two different folders on that server. What happens when I FTP the documents is one of two things:

    * the hyperlink opens the other document but stays on the first page instead of bringing up the bookmark

    * other times the second document page never displays at all. The web page displays as a totally blank page.

    FYI, I was also experimenting with a hyperlink base for both documents. Again, the linking works fine when the files are local but not after the files are FTP’ed to the server.

    Any ideas?

  23. Andrew Flusche
    March 21st, 2007

    CW,

    I understand the problem you are having, but I’m not sure of a way to solve it. The best solution would be to upload your files to a public web site. Perhaps an open web server would be easier to link to than an FTP server.

    Good luck,
    Andrew

  24. John Keymer
    October 22nd, 2007

    Why are people still writing research papers etc using M$ word?

    The best piece of advice I can give is to do a bit of research on the LaTeX typesetting software – it blows word away with functionality, it’s free, it produces documents in far more formats, it typesets PROPERLY and it manages all your cross-references with ease!

  25. Andrew Flusche
    October 22nd, 2007

    Hi John,

    You sound like a Computer Science professor I had during undergrad. He was a LaTeX evangelist. I’ve never dug too much into the system, but it does look pretty amazing.

    I just realized there is a version available for Windows: MiKTeX.

    Thanks a ton for your comment,
    Andrew

  26. ThePowerOfaAttorney
    April 21st, 2008

    Thanks, this tool really helps when Im writing 1,000 word+ papers.

  27. Universal Cynic
    May 15th, 2008

    Wow. Never knew that you can link from one doc to a bookmark in another. Thanks.

    Still, I can’t seem to solve the problem of a master document. Word doesn’t seem to have the best feature for long documents such as synchronizing document page numbers across several files, cross-referencing across files, creating master TOC. Some of these can be done by using the master document but that one is a feature not properly thought out by Microsoft – page numbers don’t sync, numbered lists get botched (one long running sequence in each sub-document right after expansion), relative paths don’t work… etc. etc.

    I’m just fed up with Word for long documents. I used to create long docs in FrameMaker and Word’s master doc feature is a bad joke compared to FrameMaker’s book collection. Forced to use Word in the corporate world… sigh.

    I agree with John Keymer. LaTeX is the way to go for long docs… or at least SGML like in FrameMaker since LaTeX is not the easiest to learn.. hehe.

  28. Jenny
    May 19th, 2008

    Hi all – I have a 500 page doc and headings, cross-referencing etc. The trouble is, if I click on a cross reference to look at that material, is there an easy way to click to get back the the actual cross ref? i.e. say I’m in chapter 5, and ctrl click on a cross ref it jumps me to say, Chapter 2. I read that, but then want to get back to where I was in Chapter 5.

    Advice would be great!

  29. Andrew Flusche
    May 20th, 2008

    @Jenny – You should be able to jump back to your previous spot (Chapter 5, in your example) by clicking “Back” from the Web Toolbar. This toolbar doesn’t exist in Word 2007, but you can add the “Back” button to the “Quick Access Toolbar” by customizing it. Good luck!

  30. steven
    October 4th, 2008

    Hi,
    I thought I would add my two cents even though this thread is a bit old. I was going to add to Mary’s suggestion about making hyperlinks to headings: You might find it easier to just use Word’s Outline View. You can easily view any level of heading text detail. So, for instance, if you just want a list of all of your heading 1 text you can use alt+shift+1. Jump to where you want to go and expand the paragraph of section using alt+shift++. That’s the plus character. Minus shrinks that section. Or use your mouse. This is the whole point of using headings. Outline is the most powerful feature in Word in my opinion; it’s where I spend all of my editing time. Also, I wanted to add that I’m not sure I agree that Latex is worth the learning curve for the average user. It’s more important to have a wysiwyg interface for the average writer. Besides, though it’s free, your time to learn all of that arcane scripting isn’t, and it could be probably better spent getting to work. Latex and these sorts of programs are great for technical writers with lots of weird formulae and so on. Word is an extremely powerful program and it’s rather easy to use. The key is to learn how to work with styles and headings. If you’re still using it as a typewriter then you’re missing all of its power.

  31. Steven
    October 4th, 2008

    Oops. I made a mistake on my website address. :) Cheers

  32. Andrew Flusche
    October 4th, 2008

    @Steven – You’re absolutely right about headings and styles in Word. I’ve begun writing an law ebook, and I’m extensively using these features. Once you get the hang of them, they provide lots of awesome abilities. Sweet!

  33. bodybuilder blog
    March 3rd, 2009

    I never heard of LaTeX typesetting software John. Thanks for the heads up. I’m a bit skeptical though their software could be as good as microsoft which has years and thousands of programmers behind it.

  34. Andrew Flusche
    March 3rd, 2009

    @bodybuilder blog – Don’t make the mistake of thinking something is good just because it’s put out by a big corporation. Many independent and open source programs can do awesome things.

  35. positive thinking
    April 23rd, 2009

    Thanks for the info, this is a great tool!

  36. Gevril
    July 6th, 2009

    Wow. Never knew that you can link from one doc to a bookmark in another. Thanks.

  37. Templates
    August 19th, 2009

    I understand the problem you are having, but I’m not sure of a way to solve it. The best solution would be to upload your files to a public web site. Perhaps an open web server would be easier to link to than an FTP server.

  38. tuning
    August 22nd, 2009

    great, that tool is still what i searched.

  39. free microsoft point
    September 1st, 2009

    I also create a bookmark at the start of the list of headings. Scattered throughout the document, I put in` and link back to that bookmark. That way, I can go from the top to a heading in the middle, then quickly go back to the top.

  40. Haarentfernung
    October 10th, 2009

    The article is very useful for me. Thanks for sharing.

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