In a Word 2007 document that contains multilevel numbered headings, is it possible to create a cross-reference to the number and/or text of a heading (e.g., "see section 2.3 Summary") that will update automatically as other headings are added or deleted, thereby causing the target heading's number to change?
Type your introductory text, such as "See Section " (I deliberately left a blank space after the word "Section"), and then either click the Insert tab or the References tab, then click "Cross-Reference."
When the Cross-reference dialog appears, change the "Reference type" drop-down at the top left to "Headings." Then change the "Insert reference to" drop-down at the top right to either "Heading number" or "Heading text."
Click to select the heading you want to refer to, then click "Insert."
You can either click the "Close" button or, if you like, double-check to make sure the same heading is selected, change the "Insert reference to" drop-down again (if you chose "Heading number" the first time, you could change it to "Heading text," so that you would have a reference to both the heading number and the text as in your example), click "Insert," and then click "Close."
When other headings are added or deleted, you can easily update the cross-references by selecting the document and pressing F9.
Caution: It's easy to break cross-references because they depend on hidden target codes that need to remain in place. Be extra-careful when deleting, cutting, and pasting, as well as when inserting a new paragraph. Among other precautions, it's best to avoid pasting text at the beginning of a paragraph that contains a cross-reference and to avoid starting a new paragraph by pressing Enter when your cursor is anywhere within a paragraph that contains a cross-reference (except at the very end).
Let us know how that works for you.
Thanks for your reply. I tried that procedure, but it doesn't work the way I want. Using my example, it creates a cross-reference to the specified heading ("2.3 Summary"), but if I later insert a new heading before that one (e.g., "Discussion"), then the new heading becomes "2.3 Discussion", and the one that I want to cross-reference to becomes "2.4 Summary"; but after updating the fields, the cross-reference now refers to "2.3 Discussion", whereas I want it to refer to "2.4 Summary" (i.e, to stay linked to the same heading *paragraph*, not to the same heading *number*).
The procedure outlined by Jan is correct - you simply insert a cross-reference to the relevant heading. That it's not working for you and your description of what transpired when you updated the fields suggests that what you actually did was to insert a new heading after the original one, the original Heading's text, then change the original Heading's text. When I follow Jan's instructions, plus what you said you did, Word updates the cross-reference to "2.4 Summary".
Thanks for your reply. On re-reading more closely, I confirm that the problem that I reported occurs when a new heading is inserted by pressing <Enter> at the beginning of a cross-referenced one, which apparently disrupts the cross-referencing.
Yes, it's really important to avoid inserting a new heading by pressing the Enter key at the beginning of a paragraph that contains a cross-reference. As I mentioned in my first post, doing so can break the link to the hidden target code. It's something that happens fairly frequently because many people are accustomed to inserting a new paragraph in the way that you did.
I probably should have re-worded my "Caution" to make it clearer exactly which behaviors to avoid (and which behaviors to use instead).
Starting a new paragraph by placing the cursor at the end of the previous numbered paragraph and pressing the Enter key should work. I.e., it should create a new numbered paragraph ahead of the current one without breaking any of the existing cross-references.