Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Statement numbering in Microsoft Word

Many people already know this hint, but I was corresponding with a colleague who didn't, so I thought I'd post it.  Analytic philosophy papers often have numbered statements, which are then referred to by number.  It would be a big nuisance if after removing one of the numbered statements or inserting another, one had to manually or semi-manually (search and replace for every higher number) update all the relevant statement number references in the text. 

One way to solve the problem is to use TeX.  But TeX is hard to learn, and not so nice for on-screen proofreading.  But good old Microsoft Word has a cross-referencing feature.  I am using Word 2003, so the newer versions with command ribbons will be slightly different.  Instead of typing a reference number into the text by hand when you want to refer to a numbered statement, you just choose Insert | Reference | Cross-reference (alt-I, N, R on my version) from the menu.  Make sure that in "Reference type" you have "Numbered item" and under "Insert reference to" you have "Paragraph number".  Then you choose the statement from the list, and click on "Insert".  Word should eventually update these references if the numbering changes (assuming you've numbered the statements using a numbered style--normally, Word will change hand-numbered statements into a numbered style), maybe at printing tme.  If it doesn't, you can select all (ctrl-A), right-click, and choose "Update fields".

The UI feels a bit clunky and imperfect (e.g., the next time you choose the reference list, the highlight moves to the top, rather than staying where it was--a big nuisance if one is writing a book and there are tons of numbered statements--but it is usable.

Similar methods can be used for referencing chapter and section numbers.  One can even cross-reference by page number.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks! This was new to me. Will save me lots of wasted time!