Word provides Fields so you can have dynamic information in your document?information that will update automatically based on new conditions. These tips expand on how you can use and edit Fields to include dynamic data conveniently.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Fields' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count
Word provides a tool that counts the number of words in a document. Here's an alternative method of calculating the number of words in a document.
Adding a Box Around Selected Text
You can use a special field to put a box around text within a paragraph.
Adding a Dynamic Total in Your Document
You can use a few bookmarks and an equation field to add a dynamic total anywhere in your document. Once in place, you can change any of the amounts, and the total is updated the next time the field results are updated.
Age Calculation with Fields
People don't normally think of using fields to do any calculations. Even so, you can use fields to perform a simple calculation, like determining an age.
Auto-incrementing Form Fields
Templates are a great way to create new documents because they act as intricate patterns to what those new documents should contain. What if you want the new documents to include some sort of automatically incrementing number? This tip looks at ways you can accomplish the task.
Automatically Updating Fields and Links
You can update fields and links automatically when you print your document, but what if you want them updated when you open or close the document? That is not as easy of a proposition, but there are ways to fulfill the request, as shown in this tip.
Calculating Dates with Fields
Can you calculate dates using fields? Yes, but you probably don't want to except as a learning experience. An easier way is to do your calculations using macros instead.
Calculating Form Fields
Form fields allow you to create (you guessed it) forms. Here is a description of how you can force Word to calculate the contents of a form field while the form is being used.
Combining Word Documents
At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the INCLUDETEXT field, described in this tip.
Conditional Calculations in Word
Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. You can also create simple conditional calculations using the IF field, as described here.
Controlling Document Properties
Word keeps track of quite a bit of document-related information that it refers to as "properties." Here's how to control those properties and make changes in them.
Controlling Field Shading
If you use fields in your documents, you may want to highlight them in some way so that you can find them easier. Word includes a setting that allows you to specify exactly how you want your fields shaded.
Converting Field Results to Text
Fields are meant to be dynamic, providing a result based on conditions at the time they are updated. You may want to convert the dynamic results of a field to regular text. This can be done with a simple shortcut key, discussed in this tip.
Converting Forms to Regular Documents
Word allows you to protect documents that are intended to be used as forms. If you want to convert the form responses back to regular text, you need to follow a couple of steps that will stop the data from being changed, as described in this tip.
Copying and Pasting Field Codes
Want to copy a field code and paste it in some other Windows program? This can be trickier than it sounds. Here's the lowdown on why this is, and a macro you can use to make copying and pasting field codes easier.
Copying Form Field Contents
Are you developing a form with Word? In some instances it is advantageous to copy whatever is entered in a form field to another location in your document. This tip explores two ways you can reuse information entered into your document's fields.
Counting Fields in a Document
Need to count the number of times a particular field appears in a document? It's easy to do when you apply the techniques described in this tip.
Creating an AutoText List
The AUTOTEXTLIST field is one of those esoteric fields that you may know nothing about. The cool thing it does is allow you to define a drop-down list that automatically displays options based on AutoText entries in your document.
Date Last Edited
You can insert several dynamic dates into your document. One you may want is to add the date when the last edit was performed. Word doesn't track this date, but has other dates that may be more what you really need.
Deleting All Fields
Fields can be a great way of adding small snippets of dynamic data to your documents. However, you may want to get rid of all the fields that a document contains. There are a few ways you can go about making this change.
Differences between SEQ and LISTNUM Fields
Word provides several different fields you can use for custom numbering in a document. Two of the most commonly used are the SEQ and LISTNUM fields. This tip explains the major differences between the two.
Displaying Blanks when Summing to Zero
If you use fields to sum the information in your table columns, you might want to display a blank when the sum is zero. The easiest way to do this is by adding a couple of switches to your field codes.
Fields (sometimes called field codes) allow you to insert dynamic information in your documents. If you want to see the codes used in the fields instead of the results of those codes, use the shortcut in this tip.
Documents Printing Out of Order
When printing documents under the control of a macro, you may notice that the documents print out of order for some reason. Here's a discussion of why this may happen and what you can do about it.
Dynamic Path and Filename in a Footer
You can easily place a path and filename in the footer of your document. What do you do if it appears that these elements don't reflect the real name of the saved file? Perhaps it could be simply because the fields used have not been updated.
Entering a "Slashed Zero" in Your Document
Need to add the occasional zero with a slash through it? There are a couple of ways you can accomplish this task.
Entering a Name in the Header of a Locked Form
When you lock a document as a form, then Word limits what you can do with that document. That includes not being able to change whatever is in the header and footer. This tip explains how you can bypass the need for putting a form field in an area of the document you can't change once the form is protected.
Entering Calculations in a Form Field
One of the many uses for Word is to create forms that can be easily filled in by other people. This is made possible by the use of special form fields. Word even lets you perform simple calculations on the values entered into form fields, as described in this tip.
Exactly Positioning Text
If you need to control exactly where text will appear on the page or relative to other text, you need to know about the ADVANCE field. Here's the low-down.
Field in Footer Won't Update
Word provides a handy shortcut that allows you to update the fields in any text you've selected. When you select your whole document, you'd expect Word to update all the fields in your document, right? Wrong, and here's why.
Field Reference to Number of Prior Pages
Fields are used for all sorts of purposes in Word, but typically to provide some sort of dynamic information. This tip shows some of the power of fields by using them to calculate and display the number of previous pages in a document.
Fields allow you to add simple dynamic content to your document. Here's how you can find the fields when you need to know where they all are located.
Getting Information About Fields
Want to know what a certain field does and how to use it? Word's online help is surprisingly helpful in getting the information you need. Here's how to find that help.
Getting Rid of Fields Inserted by Third-Party Programs
Third-party programs can be used to affect a document and change what is contained therein. Of course, getting rid of what those programs add to a document can be a challenge, as discussed in this tip.
Implementing a Dynamic Document Control Table
Accurately and repeatedly referencing information within a document is a common task that needs to be done. One way to perform this task reliably is through the use of fields; this tip explains how.
Including Section Numbers in an Index
When you use Word to create your index, you'll normally only include a page number in the index. If you want to create an index that includes section numbers, Word can handle it using the two methods described in this tip.
Inserting a Cross-Reference to an Item in a List
When you create a list using the SEQ field, you may want to create a cross-reference to an item in that field. You can do this using a couple variations on the SEQ field itself.
Inserting a Cross-Reference to the First Style on a Page
A common way to set up a header is to have it refer to the first occurrence of a heading on the page. (Think how the headers in dictionaries refer to the first word defined on the page.) Word makes this easy to do using the STYLEREF field.
Inserting a Document's Location
Once you save a document on disk, it is stored in a particular folder (or location) on that disk. You may want that location to appear somewhere in your document. You can use the FileName field, discussed in this tip, to dynamically add that information.
Inserting a Document's Path
You can use the FILENAME field to insert a document's filename and, optionally, the path to that filename. However, if you want to only insert the path to the file, then you'll need to do more than just use a simple field.
Inserting a Document's Size
Want to insert the size of your document directly into the document body? You can do so by using one of the dynamic fields available in Word.
Inserting a Dynamic Word Count in Your Document
Need to know how many words are in your document? You can use the NumWords field to add that statistic, dynamically, to anyplace you want in your document.
Inserting a Page Number Field
The PAGE field is used to indicate the current page number on which the field occurs. If you want to add this field to your document, here's a handy shortcut you can use.
Inserting Custom Properties with Fields
Using File | Properties you can specify different information to be stored with your document. If you create your own custom properties, you can use the DocProperty field to place the contents of those custom properties in your document.
Fields are used for a variety of dynamic purposes in a document. There are a couple of ways you can easily insert fields, as described in this tip.
Inserting Summary Information
Want to insert into your document those snippets of information that you know Word maintains about your document? It's easy to do, as outlined in this tip.
Inserting the Author Name
Did you know that Word tries to keep track of who the author of a document is? This information can be easily added to the body of a document by following these steps.
Inserting the Current Month
Need to add the name of the current month to your document? Word includes a field that can make the addition easy, and it even dynamically updates over time.
Inserting the Date and Time
Inserting a date and time in your document is a snap using the tools provided in Word. Just pick the command, then specify what format you want to use. You can even specify if you want the date to update itself or not.
Inserting the Date Your Document Was Last Printed
Word keeps track of each time you print your document, and you can automatically insert the last printing date anywhere you want. This tip explains which field you specifically use to insert this information.
Inserting the Date Your Document was Last Saved
Word keeps track of the date each time you save your document. If you want to insert that "save date" in your document, you can use a field to do it.
Inserting the Document Creation Date
One of the pieces of information tracked by Word is when a document was first created. Here's how you can access that date and add it to your document.
Inserting the Document Revision Number
Need to know how many times your document has been saved? Word keeps track of this information, and makes it easily accessible through the use of a field.
Inserting the Edit Time
One of the things that Word keeps track of is how long, in minutes, you've been editing your current document. This information can be inserted into the document using the EditTime field.
Inserting the Name of the Last Person to Save the Document
Who saved the document the last time? Word keeps track of that information, and you can insert the person's name into the document itself.
Inserting the Subject in Your Document
One of the properties you can specify for a document is a subject. You can then use a field code to insert this subject, dynamically, into your document. This tip explains how to access the subject in your documents.
Inserting the Template Name in Your Document
Templates are a powerful part of the Word experience, as they allow you to create and format documents based on patterns. Every document has an associated template, and you can insert the name of that template in the document itself by using a special field designed for that purpose.
Inserting the Total Number of Characters in Your Document
One of the things that Word keeps track of regarding your document is the number of characters it contains. Using the NumChars field, you can insert this number anywhere in your document that you'd like.
Inserting the Total Number of Pages in Your Document
Word keeps track of many statistics for each of your documents. One statistic is the total number of pages in the printed document. You can insert this information anyplace you want, using the NumPages field.
Inserting the User's Address
If you enter your address into Word, you can insert that address anywhere you want in a document by using a single field. This tip introduces the UserAddress field and shows how easy it is to use it within a document.
Inserting the User's Initials
One of the pieces of information tracked by Word are your name and initials. You can insert your initials by using the UserInitials field, described in this tip.
Inserting the User's Name
Word keeps track of a name for the person using the program. If you want to add this person's name into the document, dynamically, you can do so with a field.
Jumping Between Fields
Need to step through the fields in a document? It's easy using the shortcuts detailed in this tip.
Keeping Fields and Text Together
You can use fields for a wide variety of purposes in your documents. If you want to make sure that a field and the text that follow it stay together, on the same line, then you may be surprised to find out this can't be done in Word.
Letters and Numbers in Page Numbers
A common task is to add page numbers to document headers and footers. If you want those page numbers to include more than just digits, you can easily accomplish your desires.
Limiting Directories in the FILENAME Field
When you use the FILENAME field in a document, it can include the full path name that leads to your file. This might be too long for your needs, however. Here's a way you can limit what directories are shown in the path.
Locating Locked Fields
A field can be locked or unlocked, and its condition controls whether it is updated automatically or not. If you want to search for only locked fields in a document, you're going to need the macro presented in this tip.
Locking a Field
When you use fields in your document, you may want them to not change from a particular displayed result. You can lock individual fields so that they remain static from that point forward.
Maintaining Fields in a Merged Document
When merging documents, you may want to include some fields in the merged documents. For some fields this is impossible, as to include them would make no sense.
Making Common Information Accessible
Got a bunch of info that is common to a lot of your documents? Here's a way to get that information standardized among all those documents.
Making Sure a Document Always Has an Even Number of Pages
For some documents, you may want to make sure that a printout always has an even number of pages. Word has no intrinsic way to do this, but you can work around this apparent limitation using the techniques in this tip.
Merging Graphics from Access
An Access database can store all types of data, including graphic images. Merging most data from Access into Word is relatively easy, except when it comes to graphics. This tip explains why this is the case and ways you can work around the problem.
Monday's Date on Friday's Report
Automatically putting today's date at the top of a report is easy. Putting a different date, automatically, can be more difficult.
Numbering With Sequence Fields
You can use sequence fields for reliable numbering. They are quick, easy, and don't have some of the drawbacks of automatic numbering.
Want to add an overline above a character or two in your document? There are several ways you can try, as described in this tip.
Placing Numbers Over Other Numbers
Sometimes you need to create text that isn't as "linear" as you might expect. For instance, you may need to put some text over the top of other text, almost like a fraction (but without the fraction line). This tip examines a few ways that you can position text in this over-and-under manner.
Printing Copy Numbers
Copy 1, Copy 2, Copy 3... Do you want to mark your printouts so that they are numbered? Here's how you can do it.
Printing Field Codes
Field codes allow dynamic information to be included in documents and can be a great boon. At some point you may want to print a copy of your document with field codes displayed. Here's how to do it.
Printing Index Field Codes
Word allows you to configure what you see so that field codes are visible instead of the results of those field codes. However, even though you an see all your field codes, you won't be able to print out the XE field codes unless you take an additional step not necessary for other fields codes.
PRIVATE Fields in WordPerfect Documents
Did you ever convert a document from WordPerfect and see PRIVATE fields in it? Here's what those fields mean.
Fields are very helpful for inserting dynamic information or standardizing the information that appears in a document. Unfortunately, users can inadvertently delete fields, thereby ruining your careful planning. While fields cannot be protected in Word, there are some steps you can take to minimize the chances of fields being deleted accidentally.
Quickly Inserting the Date Your Way
Tired of messing with inserting the date and then changing it to a format that is more to your liking? There's a quick way you can set up Word to allow you to enter dates in just the manner that you want, as described in this tip.
QuickWords in Word
WordPerfect users coming to Word may miss a feature called QuickWords. This tip examines some ways you can get around the lack of this feature in Word.
Referencing Fields in Another Document
Sometimes you may have two documents that are so integrally related to each other that the one document may require the use of information stored in the other. You can accomplish this sharing of data through the use of the INCLUDETEXT field.
Removing Specific Fields
Word allows you to place all sorts of fields in your documents. If you want to search for only specific types of fields, then you'll love the techniques presented in this tip.
Searching for a Specific Field
Fields can be a great boon to document development, as they allow you to insert different types of dynamic information in the body of the document. If you want to search for a specific type of field, you can do so using the techniques presented here.
Selecting a Field
Do you need to select a field? It is as simple as selecting a single character, as this tip explains.
Sending Printer Commands
If you need to send a command directly to your printer, then you need to use the PRINT field. It allows you to send output to the printer without Word trying to process it as text.
Sequentially Numbering Elements in Your Document
One of the most powerful and useful fields provided by Word is the SEQ field. This tip describes how you can use the field to number different parts of your document.
Setting Up an Array with Fields
One of the more esoteric ways to display data is with an "array," which is like a miniature inline table. This tip demonstrates how to insert these arrays in your document using the EQ field.
Setting Your Default Document Directory
Word allows you to specify where it should start looking for your documents. This setting can come in handy if you store your documents in a specific directory structure.
Special Characters in Fields
If you try to add a quote mark or a backslash as part of a field parameter or switch, you may be surprised at what you actually end up with. In order to use these characters you need to apply the technique covered in this tip.
Spelling Out Page Numbers
If your document is more than a couple of pages long, adding page numbers is a nice finishing touch. If you want, you can even have those page numbers be spelled out using words by applying the technique described in this tip.
Standard Text before a Sequence Number
When you use fields to number items within a document, you may want to add some standard text before each field. There are a few ways you can approach this task, as described in this tip.
Starting Chapters on Odd-Numbered Pages
Want to start a new heading on an odd-numbered page? You can do it with section breaks, obviously, but you can also do it using fields. This tip shows you how.
Sticking with the Dashes
By default, dashes don't "stick" to the text that follows them. Here's one way around this normal formatting convention.
Stopping Automatic Changes from Being Tracked
Track Changes is a great feature for keeping track of what gets changed in a document. There are some things (such as field results) that Word changes automatically. This can play havoc with what is shown by Track Changes. Here's why that occurs and what you can do about it.
Superscript and Subscript at the Same Place
Do you want a superscript and subscript character to appear directly above each other without using the Equation Editor? There are multiple ways you can accomplish this task, and this tip examines all of those ways.
Suppressing ASK Fields When Printing
Do you like using ASK Fields in your documents to get information from the user but don't want Word to update the fields more than once? There are a couple of solutions to this problem. Here's how to use them.
Table Numbers are Skipped
What do you do if you add numbered captions to an element of your document (such as tables) and Word skips a number? There are a couple of things you can check to discover where the problem lies, as discussed in this tip.
Tools to View Field Codes
Fields can be used to add all sorts of dynamic data to your documents. Viewing the field codes, at times, is desirable. Here's a way to add a handy clickable tool that will both display and hide those field codes.
Understanding DATE Field Formatting
One of the most commonly used fields is the DATE field. You can specify how the DATE field displays the current date by using the switch settings detailed in this tip.
Understanding Default DATE Field Formatting
The DATE field is one of the most commonly used fields for placing dynamic information in your document. It is helpful to understand how formatting is done within the field.
Understanding the ADVANCE Field
You can use the Advance field to change where text is positioned in your document. This tip shows how to use it and the options available.
Understanding the COMPARE Field
The COMPARE field is rather esoteric, but it can be helpful when you need to compare two values using fields. The result of the comparison can be used with other fields to create different results for different conditions.
Undesired Font in Form Fields
If you get unwanted formatting in your form fields, it could be because of the way you are formatting the line on which the form field appears. This tip discusses the way that form field formatting occurs and provides examples of how you can format the fields.
Unwanted Page Breaks in Cross-References
You can use fields to cross-reference different text in a document. If you get unwanted results from the cross-referencing (like an unwanted page break), then you need the information in this tip.
Updating a Field in a Text Box
If you put a field into a text box, you might be surprised to find that it doesn't update when you try to update all your fields. That is because Word doesn't really update "all" fields when you update. This tip presents several techniques you can use to achieve the updating you desire.
Updating Calculated Fields in a Form
When creating a Word form, you use special form fields to collect information from users. You can even perform calculations on some of those fields. Here's how to make sure that the calculations are always current.
Updating Fields in Locked Forms
Updating form fields in Word can be confusing, especially when the fields are locked in a form. This tips explains why the fields are difficult to update and a way you can work around the problem.
Using Consistent References
Some text references need to be consistent in many places throughout a document. Learn different ways you can ensure that your references are consistent.
Using Continued Lines
You can create a special header and footer page numbering scheme by using nested fields. This tip shows an example of how you can use the fields to calculate the next page number and to identify the last page of the document.
Using Fields for Fractions
Want a quick way to create fractions? You can do it by using fields, as described in this tip.
Using FIM Barcodes
Adding a Facing Identification Mark (FIM) barcode to your envelopes.
Using Last-page Headers and Footers
Headers and footers add a nice touch to your documents, particularly if they are printed. You may want Word to use a special header or footer on the last page of your document, but there is no built-in way to accomplish the task. Here's how you can do it easily.
Using Mandatory Form Fields
When using form fields to gather information from users of your documents, you may want to make sure that some of the fields aren't skipped over. Here's a way you can make sure that information is entered into a particular form field.
Using RD Fields with Chapter Headings
The RD field can be handy for pulling together a bunch of documents into a single file. However, using the field can play havoc with numbering in chapter headings. Here's how to get around that potential problem.
Using TC Fields for Notes
The TC field is normally used in constructing manual Tables of Contents. The way the field works, however, makes it a natural for pulling together a handy "to do list" for a document.
Using the GotoButton Field
Need to jump from one place in your document to another? One way to do this is through the user of the GotoButton field, described in this tip.
Using the INFO Field
The INFO field allows you to include all sorts of information in your document. Here's a quick overview of the field and what it can do for you.
Using the SYMBOL Field
The most common way of adding symbols to a document is to use the Symbol dialog box. There is another way, however, that can be really helpful for some situations. This tip describes using a field to insert characters in a document.
Word and Character Count Information
Using fields you can easily insert both the word and character counts for a document into the document itself. As those counts change (during editing), Word automatically updates what is displayed by the fields. Here's how to put them to work.