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Cross Referencing in Word

Cross-referencing is an imposing name for something we're all familiar with in books, especially reference books. Microsoft Word makes it much easier to do.

by Office for Mere Mortals

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Cross-referencing is an imposing name for something we’re all familiar with in books, especially reference books.  Microsoft Word makes it much easier to do.

A cross-reference is simply a mention or link in the text to another part of the same document.  In olden days (thirty years ago <g>) you could put references like these in a paper book:

  • See Page 123 for more details
  • See Chapter 12
  • See the chapter on SuperHeroes
  • See Above

However any change to the paper document means a lot of small changes to the references. For example a page number reference will change if even one page is added or removed.

Microsoft Word will let you do all the above links and a lot more.  Even better the references/links are updated automatically as the document changes.  Page numbers change as the page numbering varies.  Chapter numbers or titles change as the headings change.  Even See Above/See Below will change if the relative position of the text and reference change.

References and Links

In paper documents you can have references like the ones mentioned above but in online documents you can have a similar thing as clickable links. 

Microsoft Word lets you have either traditional references or add a clickable link as well.  For example ‘See Page 123’ can be clickable and take you directly to that page in the document.

These links work in a Word document or when saved to another format like a web page, a PDF or XPS document.

Reference Type and Reference To

in the Cross Reference dialog box Insert | Reference | Cross-reference in Word 2003 and before.  The References tab | Cross-Reference in Word 2007.

Word talks about reference types and reference to:

Reference Type is the part of the document you’re pointing at – the list on the left of the Cross-Reference dialog.  Word lets you point to many parts of a document such as:

  • Numbered Item
  • Heading
  • Bookmark
  • Footnote
  • Endnote
  • Equation
  • Figure
  • Table

Selecting a reference type will make a list of available references appear in the lower section of the document.  Choosing Headings and a list of existing headings will appear and so on.

Reference To is the link text in the document.  Your choices depend on what you are linking to but can include:

  • Page Number
  • Text
  • Above / Below
  • Paragraph number
  • Footnote number
  • Endnote number
  • Caption

Basic Cross-Referencing

To create a cross-reference:

  1. In your document, type the text that will contain the cross-reference.
  2. Click Insert | Reference | Cross-reference.
  3. In the Reference type drop down list select the item to refer to e.g. Heading

  4. In the For which heading box, select the specific item in the document to be referenced e.g. Heading name say “Cross-Referencing in Word 2003”
  5. In the Insert reference to drop down list select the information to be inserted in the document e.g. Heading text
  6. The Insert as hyperlink option can be selected to help the users Jump to the referenced section by clicking on the hyper link e.g. See Table1 cross reference can be clicked by pressing [CTRL + click] and the referenced table is easily located in the document.
  7. The Include above/below check box can be selected to include information about the relative position of the referenced item. This puts a simple ‘See Above’ or ‘See Below’ in your document. This is usually active for Numbered items like Paragraph number.
  8. Click Insert.
  9. If there is no more items to be cross-referenced then click the Close button.

Once the cross-reference is inserted in the document it will appear as
“Cross-Referencing in Word 2003”
next to the text that has been selected to contain the cross-reference.

If the hyperlink option was also selected this cross-reference can be clicked to jump to the exact location of the Heading in the document.

Page Number Cross-Reference

In the similar manner a page number cross-reference to a heading or bookmark can be inserted. In the steps explained above instead of selecting Heading text as Insert reference to option select page number instead.

Rest of the steps will remain the same.

E.g. If Insert reference to option is selected as Page number for heading “Cross-Referencing in Word 2003” then it will appear as “1” next to the text that is selected to contain the cross-reference. Here 1 stands for the page number on which the heading “Cross-Referencing in Word 2003” is appearing in the document.

If the “Include above/below’ option is selected then the words ‘above’ or ‘below’ do NOT appear then the page reference is inserted – go figure.  In this context ‘Include above/below’ changes the inserted link from the page number alone to “on page 1”.

Note: In order to insert reference to Page Number, it is not necessary that the document should be numbered in advance. Word automatically inserts the appropriate page number reference, even if the document does not contain visible page numbers in the header or footer.

Paragraph and Outline Cross-References

Paragraphs in a document can be cross-referenced:

  1. In your document, select the item which you want to be cross-referenced.
  2. Click Insert | Reference | Cross-reference.
  3. In the Reference type drop down list select the Numbered item option
  4. In the Insert reference to drop down list select the Paragraph number option
  5. In the For which numbered item box, select the specific numbered item in the document to be referenced e.g. select the outline numbered list “a)”
  6. The Insert as hyperlink option can be selected to help the users, quickly move to the referenced item.
  7. The Include above/below check box can be selected to include information about the relative position of the referenced item. This is usually active for Numbered items.
  8. Click Insert.
  9. If there is no more items to be cross-referenced then click the Close button.

Note: An outline numbered list applies a hierarchical structure to any list e.g. 1)a)i) is a 3 level list where 1st level is 1), second is a) and third level is i). Any kind of list format and nomenclature can be selected in Word for outline numbered lists.

In the above example the selected outline numbered list a) appears as 1)a) next to the text which is cross-referenced. Here along with the paragraph number the relative position of the number in the outline numbered list is displayed.

The Paragraph number reference can be inserted two other ways; Paragraph number (full context) and Paragraph number (no context).

Paragraph number (no context) displays the paragraph number without its relative position in the list e.g. in the above example for the selected paragraph number a) it appears as simply a) i.e. wit

Article posted: Friday, 13 March 2009

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