Thursday, October 01, 2009

Creating Mirrored Content in MS Word

It is possible to set up sections of “mirrored content” in Microsoft Word, such that the same content appears in two or more places in the document, and changes to the content in the “master” location are automatically mirrored to the other instances of the content.

The following instructions apply to Word 2003; I’ve done this in Word 2007 as well, but the specific procedure will differ slightly due to 2007’s use of the Ribbon interface rather than the traditional menu.

1. Designate the master content

To designate the “master” (primary) version of the content to be mirrored, select the content (e.g. by left-clicking and dragging the mouse cursor over it), and then create a “Bookmark” on the content by selecting Insert | Bookmark from the menu.  In the Bookmark dialog, add a new bookmark and name it whatever you like.

Tip: You may also want to enable “Show Bookmarks” at Tools menu | Options | View tab, so that you can see the bounds of the bookmark you created.

2. Place the mirrored content

Now, go to the place in the document where you want the mirrored copy of the content to appear.  At that location, add a “Cross-Reference” via Insert menu | Reference | Cross-reference.  In the Cross-reference dialog, set Reference Type to “Bookmark” and Insert Reference To to “Bookmark Text”; in the For Which Bookmark field, select the bookmark you created. 

Optionally, you can leave the “Insert as hyperlink” dialog checked.  If this is checked, the mirrored content will still appear normally (it won’t be underlined like a typical World Wide Web hyperlink), but readers of the document will be able to Ctrl+click the mirrored content to jump to the location of the master copy of the content.

Finally, click the dialog’s Insert button, and then the Close button.  The mirrored copy of the content should now appear in the document!

3. Updating the mirrored content

The mirrored content will not immediately automatically update when the master content is updated.  You can update the mirrored copy manually by right-clicking the mirrored text, and selecting “Update Field” from the context menu that appears.

You can update all of the mirrored content in the document at once by selecting the entire document (Edit menu | Select All; or press Ctrl+A), right-clicking anywhere in the document, and selecting “Update Field.”  All mirrored content fields (and any other fields that may be present in the document) will be updated.

Alternatively, you can set Word to automatically update all fields in documents each time the document is printed.  To do this, in Tools menu | Options | Print tab, select the Update Fields check box.

Bonus Tip: Capitalizing the mirrored content

Optionally, you can make the mirrored content appear in ALL CAPS even if the master content is mixed-case.  To do this:

  1. Right-click the mirrored content; from the context menu, select Edit Field.
  2. In the Field dialog, click the Field Codes button. 
  3. In the Field Codes text box that appears, type the following text at the end of the existing content of the text box:
    \* UPPER
  4. Click OK. The mirrored content should now appear in all uppercase!

(Thanks to Graham Mayor for the tip on the capitalization field switch. See Graham's site for lots of other advanced tips regarding what can be done with Word fields.)

1 comment:

  1. These will be pretty useful to have. I find this really easy to apply. It works fine. Looking forward to get more from you.


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