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I have a document with a large number of steps. I've set up a "Step" paragraph style with numbering that generates the word "Step" followed by the step number and a colon (plus the tab that Word seems to add without my asking for it). This generates paragraphs that look like this:

Step 1: Blah blah blah...
Step 2: Blah blah blah...
Step 3: Blah blah blah...

That's fine. The problem is that I often want to refer to individual steps via cross-references, and I can't get the text to come out right. For example, I might want to say "As you can see in Step 2, ...". But I can't find a way to get the text "Step 2" to appear without the colon, and "As you can see in Step 2:," is not what I want.

In some cases, I want only the step number. For example, I might want to write, "As you can see in steps 2, 4, and 22, ...". Saying "As you can see in Step 2, Step 4, and Step 22, ..." would be cumbersome.

How can I set up my numbering and cross references so that I can get the boilerplate text around the step numbers (i.e., "Step" before the number and ":" after it) in the paragraphs comprising the steps, but I can refer to either "Step n" or just the step number (in both cases without the colon) in cross-references?

I'm using Word 2010.

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This is essentially a duplicate of Word 2010: Include colon in Heading but omit from field references, but that one hasn’t been answered. –  Scott Feb 27 '13 at 0:29
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2 Answers

You can hide the colon from references by making the text hidden in the field result. When you do this the field will automatically enable the "Preserve formatting during updates" option which means even when you update the references the colon should not reappear.

Note you will however have to manually work with the reference fields when using this technique instead of using the ribbon i.e you will need to copy and paste the reference fields and edit the field code.

  1. Create a new reference to the desired list number.
  2. Highlight the colon in the reference text and go to Home and then Font under the ribbon.
  3. Enable the Hidden checkbox and press Ok.
  4. Update the reference field by placing the cursor inside the text and pressing F9. The number will update to reflect any change in the source paragraph but the colon should stay hidden.
  5. To repeat this for other references copy and paste the field and press ALT + F9 and edit the bookmark in the field code directly.

To exclude the "Step" prefix right click on the reference field and choose Edit Field. Then check the Suppress all non-delimiter chars box then follow the same steps above.

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I posted my question to the Microsoft Community site, and the people there came up with a solution that involves manual editing of the REF field code that underlies cross references. This seems more practical than Adam's approach, which also appears to work.

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