Cross-references: a time-saving tip

Does cross-referencing drive you crazy?  Creating a Word template for a client recently, I was reminded of a handy tip I thought I’d share.  It’s a great time-saver and will hopefully make working with cross-references a little less frustrating.

Let’s begin with an overview … then the tip!


Why use cross-references?  Well, there’s a heap of benefits (especially where you’re working with lengthy documents):

  • Cross-references can be used to quickly replicate essential information throughout your document;
  • Cross-references enable the reader to easily skip to the referenced section / item via a hyperlink;
  • When a change is made to the referenced item, the cross-reference is automatically updated.

The range of reference types that can be cross-referenced is vast and includes:

  • Numbered items
  • Headings
  • Bookmarks
  • Footnotes
  • Endnotes
  • Equations
  • Figures
  • Tables

The tip!

So what’s this great tip, I hear you ask?  It’s to do with searching for cross-references in a really quick and easy fashion.  This is something you might do where you need to undertake a document audit to review the cross-references that are in place, and ensure they’re all still relevant.

Here’s how:

  • Press Alt+F9 – all field codes within your Word document will be displayed;
  • Search for the term ^19;
  • Review the search results to locate each of your cross-references;
  • When complete, press Alt+F9 once again to hide the field codes.

Note that when using the ^19 search criteria, all fields within your document will be displayed including, for example, fields for tables of contents and the like.  To narrow the search, add REF so that your search criteria becomes ^19 REF.  Alternatives include ^19 NOTEREF or ^19 PAGEREF, depending on your requirements. However, if you’re uncertain about the types of cross-references used within the document, stick with ^19 to ensure you’re picking up all instances.