Ensuring Consistent References with AutoText

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 23, 2021)

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 tolerance on a piece of machinery, 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 handy way to do it is to use the AutoText feature in Word. When you first use your value or text, assign it to an AutoText entry. (Exactly how you create AutoText entries is discussed in other issues of WordTips.) For instance, you might assign 45,000 to the AutoText name n45. Then, whenever you type n45, you can press F3 and the name is expanded to the full number. To provide even greater flexibility, you can bypass the F3 method and follow these steps:

  1. At the first instance of the reference, define the AutoText value as you normally would.
  2. At the next point where you need the same value or text, insert a field by pressing Ctrl+F9.
  3. Within the field, type AUTOTEXT [name], where [name] is the name of the AutoText entry you defined in step 1.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each occurrence of the value or text.

This obviously is a bit more work than simply pressing F3 to expand an AutoText entry. The advantage of using AutoText in this way is that it can be easily updated. Simply change the AutoText entry, update your fields, and all instances are automatically changed throughout the document. If you use the F3 approach, your AutoText entry cannot be automatically 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 (1532) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using the Mouse to Adjust Your View of 3-D Graphs

Want to adjust the perspective from which your 3-D graph is viewed? Excel allows you to use the mouse to rotate the graph ...

Discover More

Increasing Font Size In Worksheet Tabs

While Excel does not have an intrinsic way to change the font in on a worksheet tab, Windows does.

Discover More

Adding Area Codes to Phone Numbers

If you keep phone numbers in an Excel worksheet, you may need a way to add an area code to the beginning of all of the ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing AutoComplete Words

AutoComplete allows you to easily complete words you are typing in your document. If AutoComplete is presenting you with ...

Discover More

Using Extend Mode

One of the most overlooked shortcut keys in Word has to be the extend key. Yet, learning how to use this simple key can ...

Discover More

Inserting Different Dashes

Dashes have a lot of different uses in writing. Word supports three types of dashes, as discussed in this tip.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.