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Create intelligent links: insert references in Word

What are references and how do I add them in Word?

To give a Word document more structure, it is worth adding cross-references. These links allow the reader to quickly jump between different sections in the text and understand even more complex lines of thought. But how can you insert references in Word - and what should you pay attention to?

References: What is the hyperlink?

References, or cross-references, are links within Word documents that direct the reader from one text passage to another text module (headline, label, etc.). The cross-reference is displayed as a link that takes the reader to the linked element. This can be, for example, a figure, a graphic or a diagram.

Why are references in the document useful?

References can be used, especially for long documents with several pages, so that the reader can switch between different sections in the text more easily and navigate quickly in the document. In this way, references, together with good formatting of the document, maintain an overview. This increases the legibility of the document and the reader can understand even complex content more quickly.

Good to know: References can also be typed in manually. However, subsequent changes can result in subsequent errors. If you add additional text, the page numbers are no longer correct. Removing a table also means that the table numbering is no longer correct. References provide a remedy here!

Up-to-date at the push of a button: It's that easy to update cross-references in Word

You insert cross-references as fields in a document. They are usually updated automatically or at the latest with a click of the mouse. Tables of contents in Word also work on this basis: as soon as you have inserted new headings and formatted them accordingly, you can update the directory. Microsoft Word now automatically adjusts the structure and page numbers in the table of contents.

The same thing works for any type of link: to bring the content up to date after making changes to the document, you can just press the F9 key on a link - the content will adapt to your changes. If you want to print the document, the field functions are replaced by the results.

tip: If you want to create cross-references to information that is in a separate document, you must first create a master document and insert the cross-references there. This is a container for a group of separate documents. You can use a master document, for example, if you want to create and manage a book with several chapters.

How do I insert references in Microsoft Word?

Cross-references ensure better orientation in the text and can be used flexibly. However, a prerequisite is that a bookmark has already been defined in the document to which reference is to be made. This can be found under the “Insert” tab and then under “Bookmark”. Also, if you want to refer to a chart or page number, make sure you have already created it. To then insert a cross-reference in your document, proceed as follows:

  1. Right-click the References tab at the top of the ribbon.

  2. Select the text that should serve as a link to the cross-reference.

  3. Now click on the "Cross reference" button - a dialog window opens.