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Microsoft Word for Dissertations

Describes many of the special features of Microsoft Word you can use to make formatting your dissertation easier. While it's focused on dissertations, this information is useful for any long document.

Using Cross-References

When you refer to a particular figure in your document, rather than typing in “Figure 12, page 43”, you can have Word manage it automatically by using a cross-reference. This means that if the figure number or page location changes, the in-text reference will also change. 

You must be using the Insert Caption tool to create your captions for cross-references to Figures/Tables/Equations/etc...  to work. If you'll be cross-referencing chapters and sections within chapters, then you must be using Heading Styles

As an example of how the Cross-reference tool works, here's how to use it to cross-reference a figure:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the reference to be. In the References tab, click the Cross-reference button .
  2. Select the type of item you are referencing from the Reference type pulldown.
  3. For figures, select Only Label and Number from the Insert reference to: pulldown, unless you want the entire caption to appear in the text.
  4. Select the item you want to reference from the For which caption: section.
  5. Click Insert and close the Cross-reference dialog box.

When your caption number changes, you can update the in-text references by right-clicking the in-text reference and selecting Update field.  

Cross referencing multiple items

What if you want to refer to multiple items, as in (Figures 1, 2, and 4), or (Figs. 5-6)?

You can do this by modifying the Field Codes, which are the normally-hidden codes controlling what's displayed in the cross-reference.

First off, go ahead and insert the cross-references for each. Then:

  1. Right-click on each cross reference and select Toggle Field Codes
  2. You'll see something like: { REF _Ref97118298 \h } 
    • the \h only appears if you're including the chapter number in your figure number
  3. Add \# 0 after the reference ID number: { REF _Ref97118298 \# 0 \h }
    • that's a zero, not a letter "o"
  4. Right-click on it again and Toggle Field Codes so it goes back to "Figure X"
  5. Right-click on Figure X and Update Field
  6. The word "Figure" will disappear
  7. Repeat for each of the cross-references you'd like to appear this way
  8. Manually type in the world "Figures" before your figure numbers. 


There's not really a way to handle "Figures 5-10"...since figures 6, 7, 8, 9 aren't displayed, so there's nothing to click on if you want to jump to one of those. 

Changing "See Figure X" to "See Fig. X"

This gets into some geeky stuff...

When you insert a cross-reference to a figure as we've described above, Word will insert "Figure X". But there may be an expectation in your discipline that parenthetical references like this should refer to "Fig. X". We can't hack Word to get it to automatically do that exactly, but we can get it to leave off the word "Figure", giving us a chance to type in "Fig." ourselves.

After you insert a cross-reference (this is similar to what we talked about in the section above):

  1. Right-click on “Figure #” and choose “Toggle field codes”
  2. Change “\h” to “\# 0 \h”. (The "0" is a zero)
  3. Right-click on the code and choose “update field”
  4. This will leave you with just the figure number by itself
  5. Type “Fig.” before the #

Yes, you'll have to do that with each individual cross-reference.