I need to aggregate the content of several subsections further down in a separate section of a MS Word document. The copied content should update with the original content being edited. Basically, I need a synch function inside the same document. I tried searching for "mirror" "monitoring" "copy" "synch" and combinations thereof in DDG and in Word 365, but the searches came up dry (or muddy, because the two services sure found things to show me, but they were not the diamonds I was looking for). Here's what I have in mind for illustration:

section 1

subsection 1.1

text A

subsection 1.2

text B

section 2

subsection 2.1

text C

subsection 2.2

text D

section 3 (aggregation/overview section of certain parts of the document)

text B (this text should be in synch with the upper text B)

text D (this text should be in synch with the upper text D)

Little bit more context

It's bugging me hard, that this is sooo simple in LaTeX, but seems sheer impossible in Word. But, you know, it's work related and my boss asked me if I could do it. I told him I couldn't within minutes, but now I am wondering whether it would actually be possible in some non-super-hacky way. If the solution involves something I would need the other contributors to the document do on their side of involves macros and thus would need the document to be converted to .docm, I doubt I would be able to convince the others this is a good idea. You're welcome to post such a solution, as I will definitely be interested myself. I'm just probably not gonna be able to use it. Anyways, time for breakfast.

  • 1
    There's an answer but its also possible to do this with external documents. You can insert a word object inside your word or excel document that is externally and make it sync everytime you open the document. That way external editing can be done. This does not answer this particular question, but not many people know this can be done, so I thought it was worth a mention.
    – LPChip
    Jul 24, 2019 at 20:13
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    @LPChip that's pretty much the way I would do it in LaTeX. Why didn't I think of that.
    – thymaro
    Jul 24, 2019 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


It's possible, by assigning a bookmark to the text you want to re-use, then inserting a cross-reference to it. Whenever you change the original text, you only need to update the fields in the document for the changes to apply.

Here’s how:

  1. Select the block of text you want to repeat later in the document. This text can be anything: A phrase, one or more paragraphs, a bulleted list, a table, etc.
  2. Insert a bookmark for the selected text by ribbon Insert > Links > Bookmark.
  3. Give the bookmark a meaningful name, click Add, then OK.
  4. Go to the place in the document where you want to re-use the selected text.
  5. Insert a cross-reference by ribbon References > Cross-reference
  6. Select Bookmark as the Reference Type, and Bookmark Text as the Insert option.
  7. Select the bookmark name you added in Step 3, then click Insert.
  8. Whenever you change any text in the original list, just click inside the other list, then press F9 to update it (or Ctrl+A then F9 to update all fields in the document).

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