How To Insert, Edit And View Fields In Word 365

Field codes are useful placeholders for data that may change in your document. You can also use them to automate certain aspects of your document. Field codes are inserted for you when you use Word features like page numbers or table of contents, but you can insert field codes manually for other tasks such as performing calculations or filling in content from a data source.

These steps work for inserting any field code in Word. For a list of all field codes with detailed information about each, see List of field codes in Word.

Insert Field Codes

Follow the steps below to insert a field in your document:

  1. Click where you would like to insert a field.
  2. If you know the field code for the field that you would like to insert, you can key it in directly in your document, but do not use the bracket characters. Instead, press Ctrl+F9, and then key in the code within the brackets.
  3. Click Insert > Quick Parts > Field.


  1. In the Field names list, select a field name.
  2. You can filter the list by clicking the down arrow in the Categories.


  1. Under Field properties, select any properties or options you want, and click OK.
  • To see the codes for a particular field in the Field box, click Field Codes. For some fields, this button is selected by default.
  • To nest a field within another field, first insert the outer, or container, field. Then place your cursor inside the field code where you want to insert the inner field, and repeat steps 2-4 above.

Edit Field Codes

Follow these steps to edit your field:

  • Right-click in the field, and then click Edit Field.

For information about the properties and options available for a particular field, see List of field codes in Word.

    • For some fields, you must display the field code to edit the field: press Alt+F9.
    • Some fields are edited in their own dialog boxes instead of in the Field dialog box. For example, if you right-click a hyperlink and then click Edit Hyperlink, the Edit Hyperlink dialog box opens.

A little about Field Code Syntax:

Press Alt+F9 to switch between viewing field codes and viewing field results in your document. When you view a field code, the syntax will  look like this:

{ FIELD NAME Properties Optional switches }

  • FIELD NAME     This is the name that appears in the list of field names in the Field dialog box.
  • Instructions     These are any instructions or variables that are used in a particular field. Not all fields have instructions. In the Field dialog box, these are listed as Field properties.
  • Field-specific switches    These are settings that can be turned off and on for a particular field. Not all fields have switches. In the Field dialog box, these are listed as Field options.
  • General switches   These are settings that govern the format of the field results, such as capitalization of text and date/time format. In the Field dialog box these are listed as Format choices. For details, see Format field results.

Beware:  Because field codes can be visible to anyone reading your document, be certain that the information you place in field codes is not information that is sensitive or that you would like to be private.

So, should you display field codes or not> That is the question:

By default, Word displays your field results seamlessly with the content of your document such that someone reading your document is unaware that part of the content is in a field. However, fields can also be displayed with a shaded background, to make them more visible in the document.

View Field Codes

Follow the steps below to learn how:

  1. Click the File | Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Under Show document content, in the Field shading list, do one of the following:
    • To make fields stand out from the rest of the document content, select Always.
    • To make fields blend in seamlessly with the document content, select Never.
    • To make users of Word aware that they have clicked in a field, select When selected.

When the field shading option is set to When selected, the field displays a gray background when you click within the field. However, the gray shading does not indicate that the field is selected. When you select the field by double-clicking or dragging the mouse, highlighting that indicates selection is added to the gray shading.

So now you may wonder how your fields will be updated right?

By default, Word automatically updates your fields when a document is opened. In this way, the information stays current. There are, however,  situations where you may not want this to happen. For instance, you may want the date in your header to reflect a particular date rather than automatically updating to the current date every time your document is opened.

Fields can also be updated by right-clicking a field and then clicking Update Field or by clicking in a field and then pressing F9.

To manually update all the fields in the main body of a document, press Ctrl+A, and then press F9. Fields in headers, footers, or text boxes must be updated separately. Click within the header, footer, or text box, press Ctrl+A, and then press F9.

2 thoughts on “How To Insert, Edit And View Fields In Word 365”

  1. This is pretty good, thanks. But I need to respond to discovery and need to start our beginning response paragraph at 130 AND THE NUMBER needs to be at the end of the heading, not at the start of it (like all the other Word defaults). I keep searching for how to adjust the first sequential number to be 130 and the answers are just too difficult. Is there a quick answer? Thank you.

    1. Hi Audrey,

      I’m not sure what state you reside in and I think that could be a factor. So are you answering interrogatories? I know in MD you key in Interrogatory No. and the number and a colon, and then below that you just key in Answer: with an underline. Are you doing something like that? Can you be a little more specific and then perhaps I can give you an answer. I used to just create a macro and then it would automatically put in the correct number each time.

      Let me know.


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