With Word's bookmark feature you can mark a location within a document or even a chunk of text within a document. Once marked, you can use other Word features to access the information within that bookmarked locations. In this article, I take a look at some of the ways you can take advantage of Word's bookmark feature.
First of all, when working with bookmarks in a document, it can be helpful to turn on their visual aid. It's easier to work with bookmarks when you can actually see where you put them. To turn on bookmark markers, click Tools|Options|View and click the option for Bookmarks. If you are using Word 2007, click the Office Button|Word Options. Now you'd think bookmarks would be under Display, but no! You'll find the option to turn on bookmarks under Advanced|Show Document Content.
Word has two types of bookmarks and each has its own type of display. A single bookmark looks like the capital letter I. In the image below, you'll see that I have inserted a single bookmark within the first line of the sample text. The other type is a double or "wrapped" bookmark. This bookmark shows up as brackets around the text that has been bookmarked. When you wrap text in a bookmark, everything between the start and end bracket markers is considered the content of that bookmark. In the image below, you can see that I have put a bookmark around a few words in the third line.
Adding Single Bookmarks
To insert a single bookmark, position your cursor where you want the bookmark inserted. Choose Insert|Bookmark, or press Alt + I, K and the bookmark dialog box appears. Bookmarks must be one, single word. If you want to add a descriptive name that would be hard to read as one word, use mixed case letters to make the word easier to decipher, such as: myFirstBookmarkName. Bookmarks names can be up to 40 characters long.
In the dialog box, type in the name you want for this bookmark and click the Add button. You can also just press the Enter key, since the Add button is highlighted as the default button. (In other words, when you hit the Enter key, the button will be "pressed" because it is highlighted.) You can add more than 16,000 bookmarks within a single document, so you don't have to worry about how many you put in. Of course, for your own sanity, it's a good idea not to go crazy with bookmarks. When you have too many it gets challenging to remember which bookmark is which! It's not only a good idea to give each bookmark a descriptive name, but also to consider limiting how many bookmarks you actually really need.
You Have a Bookmark. Now What?
Now you have bookmarked a spot in your document. What good is that? Well, you can create a link to that information. For example, suppose you are writing a long report. Near the beginning of the report in the introduction you discuss data that is several pages further down within the report. Maybe you want to let the reader know exactly where the data is located? After adding a bookmark, you can then reference that bookmark to display its page number in the introduction.
Adding a Cross Reference
To add a cross-reference, type some text such as See page: and then click Insert|Cross-reference where you want the page number to appear. When the dialog box appears, as shown below, select Bookmark as the Reference type and choose Page number as the Insert reference to option. All your bookmarks are displayed in the For which bookmark section of the dialog box. Choose the bookmark you need to reference and click Insert. The Cancel button changes to a Close button. Just click it to dismiss the dialog box. Your text now shows the page number where the text you've bookmarked is displayed.
As future edits cause content in your document to move around from page to page, you can update this reference to ensure that it always displays the proper page number for the referenced content. To update a cross-reference, select it and press F9 to update that field. Additionally, it is a good idea to tell Word to always update your fields prior to printing to ensure that your printouts are correct. To set this option, click Tools|Options|Print and check the box for Update fields. In Word 2007, you'll find this option under Office Button|Word Options|Display|Printing options.
If you want a link that looks like a Web link, you might want to insert a hyperlink instead of a cross reference. In this case, the linked text is underlined and displayed in blue (unless you change the hyperlink style). Type some text and select it so the hyperlink is applied to that text. Click Insert|Hyperlink or press Ctrl + K. The Hyperlink dialog box appears. Click the Bookmark button to display all the bookmarks in your document. Choose the bookmark you want linked to your selected text. Then press OK to close out of these dialog boxes.
The selected text will now be linked to the bookmark you selected, as shown below.
When users click the hyperlink, they Word document automatically jumps to the place that was bookmarked.
If you are working with a document that has hyperlinks, to jump back to your original place in the document, press Shift + F5. This shortcut takes you back to your last cursor location.
Go to Your Bookmarks
In addition to using hyperlinks to jump to a bookmark location within a document, you also can use either the bookmark dialog box itself or the Go To dialog box to move around. First display the Bookmark dialog box by clicking Insert|Bookmark or pressing Alt + I, K. There you see a Go To button. Select the bookmark you need to navigate to and click Go To. Alternatively, you can open the individual Go To dialog box by pressing Ctrl + G or clicking Edit|Go To. Choose Bookmark from the Go To what list. All your bookmarks are displayed in the Bookmark name dropdown. Choose the one you need and click Go To.
You can also use the Bookmark dialog box to sort your list of bookmarks by either their name or by their location in the document.
Word also inserts hidden bookmarks for various reasons as you work with your document. If you click the Hidden option in the bookmark dialog box, you can see these bookmarks listed. Hidden bookmarks always start with an underscore. Because of this fact, make sure you do not use an underscore when you name your own bookmarks.
More Advanced Uses for Bookmarks
Depending on your skills, you can do a lot of other more advanced things with bookmarked text. If you are familiar with programming in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), you can insert a bookmark and then display a custom dialog box. When the document user enters the needed information, you can have it placed in your document at the bookmarked location. To learn more about Word VBA programming, see this link: http://www.mousetrax.com/techpage.html#autoforms or visit my free Word VBA support group, here: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Word_VBA/.
If you have to repeat the same information throughout a document, you can mark the master info with a bookmark and then use a REF field to duplicate the information throughout your file. See this article for instructions on how to do this: Pass Repeated Information in a Word Document (http://www.computorcompanion.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=224).
Bookmarks are great little tools with a surprising number of uses. To learn more about them, press the F1 Help key, and type Bookmark into Word's help index. In the Help file, you'll discover even more facts and uses for your bookmarks.