Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References.

Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 13, 2013)

There are many times when you are putting together a document that you need to make sure that certain references are consistent. For instance, you may need to refer to a particular person's name or a company name, and it is imperative that the references be precise and accurate throughout the document.

There are several ways you can handle this situation using Word. One rather unique way is through the use of document properties. You probably already know that Word maintains a series of properties for your documents. These properties include things such as the size of the document, the last time it was updated, and the like. You can also define custom properties that act like variables for your document. To define a custom property, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the Properties option from the File menu. Word displays the Properties dialog box.
  2. Click on the Custom tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Custom tab of the Properties dialog box.

  4. In the Name field, specify the name you want associated with this property. This is the name you will later use to reference the property in your document.
  5. In the Type field, pick the type of property you are creating.
  6. In the Value field, specify the value of the property.
  7. Click on the Add button. The new property appears in the list of properties in the dialog box.
  8. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.

Now you are ready to use the new document property within your document. You do this in this manner:

  1. Position the cursor at the point where you want your reference to appear.
  2. Insert a field by pressing Ctrl+F9.
  3. Within the field, type DOCPROPERTY [name], where [name] is the name of the document property you previously defined.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each occurrence of the value or text.

When you display the field results, Word fetches the contents of your custom document property and displays it in place of the field. If you change the value assigned to the document property and then update the fields in the document, all instances of the reference are updated.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (224) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Using Document Properties to Ensure Consistent References.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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