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Fields are highlighted in Word with a dark gray background.

You cannot edit text in a field, which kind of ruins the point of the field.

These categories represent various dynamic scraps of text you can insert into your document.

When you choose a category, the right side of the dialog box changes to show more detailed options.

The basic Help topic, Field codes: Style Ref field, provides the usual succinct Instructions, Switches, and Examples and goes on to provide more information about how the field behaves depending on where it is inserted in the document.

Another Help topic, Create a dictionary-style page header (apparently no longer available), told how to use two slightly different Style Ref fields to pick up the first and last word (or heading) on a page; for a substitute tutorial, see here.

Sections allow you to treat each of these elements as a single unit.

(If it works in other versions, all the better; I originally had this problem with Word 2007, and nothing seems to have changed since then.) This includes cross-references, page numbers, tables of contents, indexes, headers, etc.

This autonomy lends flexibility, but it can lead to questions about numbering pages — where do you start numbering, does each section start over with page 1, and so on.

To take advantage of fields, you use the Field dialog box.

To summon this dialog box, click the Insert tab, and then choose Explore Quick Parts→Field.

Despite being surprisingly well documented in Words online Help file, the Style Ref field may be one of Words least noticedand consequently least usedfields.

Users who discover it (or have it pointed out to them), however, almost always welcome it gratefully.

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