Tech Tip: Linking Reusable Text Across Word Documents

The Microsoft Office Suite is full of tools to help increase your productivity. Microsoft Word has a whole heap of time-saving tools and features. Have you ever had a block of text that you needed to include in more than a few documents? Have you worried that if you needed to make changes to that block of text that it would be a tedious process? Worry no more, as Word has you covered with the ability to paste formatted text linked to a master document and easily update it. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Create a document where you want your master pieces to live. It’ll probably be easier to have one master document that holds a bunch of your pieces, that way it’s easier to keep track of where the master lives and make sure it doesn’t get deleted or moved.

Step 2: Format the text/table/etc… as you want it formatted on the other documents. So here are a few things in a document that we frequently will re-use on various forms we create:

Step 3: Copy a section you want to re-use (highlight, right-click and select copy or just hit Ctrl-C).

Step 4: Open up the document where you want to re-use this text. Under the “Home” menu on the ribbon tab, select the “Paste” drop-down arrow and select “Paste Special…” (or hit “Alt-Ctrl-V” on your keyboard):

Step 5: On the Paste Special dialog that pops up, select “Formatted Text (RTF)” and the “Paste Link” radio button:

Step 6: After it’s all said and done, you’ll have your formatted text in your next document:

You can then follow the same procedure to input that block into other documents.

Now what if you need to update all those documents where you put in this chunk of text? Go back into your master document, and edit your document appropriately:

Yes, we know it’s ugly, but just wanted to make it obvious that it’s being changed.

Save and close out that document. Open back up your secondary document, and you’ll likely be greeted with this warning:

Go ahead and hit “Yes” and let it chug away (it will take a few seconds) and it should update your links:

If you ever want to manually/force update it from within the document itself (or if you hit “No” on the previous dialog box), you can always right-click on the area that was pasted in and select “Update Link”:

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