How to Use Field Codes in Microsoft Word

By August 17, 2016 May 22nd, 2018 Business Productivity, Tech Tip

If you have ever inserted a date or a page number into a Word document, you have used field codes. Despite their heavy use, many people are unaware of the full range of codes available.

What Are Field Codes?

A field code is “smart” text – once inserted, they can automatically update when needed. There are hundreds of field codes for various purposes, one of the most common being the codes for page numbers and the current date. Any time the information updates (a page is added, or the date changes), the field will automatically update.

You don’t need to see the actual field codes to insert and use these fields. Microsoft Word automatically hides the field codes and gives you a simpler way of viewing them.

What Do They Do?

Field codes enable you to:

  • Build a document automatically in response to information provided by the user.
  • Insert information about the document into the document itself.
  • Perform calculations.
  • Produce complex numbering systems that go beyond the capabilities of the Bullets and Numbering dialog.

How Do I Insert a Field?

There are two ways to insert a field code. The first way is, if you know the syntax, to press CTRL+F9 and enter the code for the function you wish to perform. Since most people don’t have these complex memorized, there’s another simpler way to do this!

  1. Click on the Insert tab on the Ribbon.
  2. In the Text group, click Quick Parts.Image: Field codes under Quick Parts
  3. Select Field from the drop-down menu.
  4. From the Field window, select your desired field on the left under Please choose a field. You can modify its display on the right under Field properties.Image: Field properties for field codes
  5. Click OK.

Voila! You have successfully inserted a field!

Common Field Codes

Common field codes that are most useful include:

  • Author: The author of the current document
  • AutoNum: Automatic numbering format, e.g. for numbered lists
  • Date: The current date
  • NumPages: The total number of pages in the document
  • Page: The current page number (hint: you can use “Page [Page] of [NumPages]” in your document footer to display something like “Page 1 of 3”)
  • Title: The title of the current document

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