Tip of the week # 542
11 May 2018

Update all references in a long document (Microsoft Word) *

Long documents such as business proposals, technical reports or other big Word files containing several sections or chapters often require a table of contents. Perhaps you even included a list of all the figures or tables used in the document. Or you might have inserted cross-references to other pages or a list of keywords found in the document with the page numbers the words appear on. As you may know, these references are inserted into your document as a field, which means that you need to update them as the document progresses. You can obviously right-click the reference and select Update Field, but if you have used a variety of fields throughout your document this will be cumbersome. So why not ensure you update all references in one go.

Here's how:

  1. Create your Table of Contents, Table of Figures, Cross-references, Index etcetera, as normal.
  2. Press CTRL + A.
  3. Press F9.
  4. If prompted to update the Table of Contents and/or Table of Figures, select the appropriate radio button and press OK.

To make sure that you don't forget to update your fields before you print your document, you can set Word to update them automatically.

Here's how:

  1. On the File tab, click on Options.
  2. Click on Display or type the letter d.
  3. Under Printing options, select the check box for Update fields before printing. If prompted, click on the relevant radio button.

Oh, and remember, if you use Word's built-in Styles you can take advantage of quickly creating a Table of Contents and other fabulous options available in the navigation pane (see tip_415.php). And if Microsoft's choice of formatting is not what you want, you can easily modify them.

Related tips:

  1. Tip # 415: Move or copy chunks of your document without using Cut and Paste or Copy and Paste (tip_415.php)
  2. Tip # 423: Applying and modifying Heading Styles to titles and subtitles (tip_423.php)


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.