Cross-reference links do not update to the correct heading number after you insert a new heading


Consider the following scenario:

  • You create a Microsoft Word document that uses outline numbering for all headings.
  • You create a cross-reference link to a heading.
  • You create a new heading. To do this, you position the pointer at the beginning of the cross-referenced heading, and then you press Enter.
  • After you create the new heading, you update all field codes.

In this scenario, the cross-reference link is not updated to reference the original heading. Instead, the cross-reference link references the new heading.


This problem occurs because, when you create a cross-reference link, a hidden bookmark is created at the beginning of the heading. When you split the heading, the bookmark does not move. When you update the cross-reference link, the link is not updated.


To work around this problem, follow these steps:

  1. Select the broken cross-reference, and then press Alt+F9. The field code is displayed for the REF field for the cross-reference. Note the bookmark name for the cross-reference. The bookmark name begins with the following string:


  2. Locate and select the outline numbered heading to which the cross-reference should point. 

  3. On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Bookmark.

  4. In the Bookmark dialog box, click to select the Hidden bookmarks check box.

  5. Locate and then select the bookmark name that matches the bookmark name that you noted in step 1.

  6. Click Add. The Bookmark dialog box closes.

  7. Press Alt+F9 to hide field codes.

  8. Locate the broken cross-reference.

  9. Right-click the cross-reference link, and then click Update Field.

The cross-reference will correctly update the heading number to match the outline-numbered heading that the cross-reference references.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.