International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
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Creating cross-references in Word

To manage cross-references to figures, tables, clauses and subclauses in a document, MS Word's Cross-references feature is ideally suited. When the number of a figure, table or subclause changes, these references are updated automatically, which avoids manual find-and-replace operations.


Important: If you want to create cross-references to figures and tables, their captions must have been created with Word's Captions feature.


To insert a cross-reference, go to Insert or References > Cross-reference


The Cross-reference window will come up. Select


1) the type of reference you want to create (Figure, Table or customised label)


2) the element you want to refer to


3) what you want to insert (usually only the label and number; in this example, the words Table 44 will be inserted)


cross-references window



Updating cross-references

Cross-references are fields that update automatically. However, automatically does not mean spontaneously - you decide when you want fields to update.

  • To update a field, select it and press [F9]
  • To update all fields in a document, select the entire document [Ctrl + A] and press [F9]

If after an update you get the error message Error! Reference source not found, the field to which the cross-reference links has been deleted (for instance, a deleted figure or table caption produces this error).


If you are not sure which element the cross-reference referred to before, undo the update and check. Then go to the element in question and try to find out what happened. If a figure or table caption was accidentally deleted, recreate it. Then insert a new cross-reference, because the old one will not work anymore.