Inserting a field in a document is a time-saving way to enter segments of information that occur several times in a document or that are subject to change. Fields serve as placeholders for such information and populate automatically with the source of the information. When the source changes, the field changes once the field is updated. One of the most common uses of fields is in mail-merge documents. Source categories frequently used with fields are date and time, document information, user information, equations, index and tables, links and references, and numbering.
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Insert your cursor at the place in the document where you want to insert a field.
Activate the field definition window. On the ribbon's "Insert" tab, click "Quick Parts." On the pull-down menu, select "Field." The "Field" dialogue box appears.
Select the category to which the field you want to insert belongs. In the "Categories" drop-down list, pull down to select one of the options displayed, for example, "Date and Time."
Select an available field name in the category you have chosen. In the "Field Names" drop-down list, pull down to select one of the options displayed, for example, in the "Date and Time" category, choose "Date."
Select the properties you prefer for the field you selected if options display. Field properties do not display for all fields. If the "Field Properties" section of the dialogue box displays, pull down from options in the drop-down list to select the properties you want to display. The "Field Properties" section does display for the "Date" field in the "Date and Time" category. If you had chosen the "Date" field, for example, you would have numerous date formats from which to choose.
Select population options for the field you have selected if you want. In the "Field Options" section of the window, check the appropriate option to further define how you want the field displayed. If you had selected "Date,"you could define here that you want the date displayed in the last format you used when inserting a date from the "Insert" tab on the ribbon.
Insert the field into the document. Click "OK." The source of the field displays, as you defined it, where you originally placed your cursor.
Tips and warnings
- Word automatically updates fields every time a document is opened.
- To update a field manually, put your cursor in the field. Either right-click and select "Update Field," or press "F9."
- To update all fields in a document except for those in headers, footers and text boxes, press "Ctrl" and "A" and then "F9."
- To update fields in headers, footers and text boxes, put your cursor in them and press "Ctrl" and "A" and then "F9."
- After you change the source of a field, the field must be updated to display its current content in a document.
- Inserting some fields properly can be somewhat complicated. You may need to refer to Word's Help function, search for "fields" and then click "Insert and format field codes."
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