The Word Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane

Among the many reasons I love Word Styles, is how it makes the Navigation Pane more powerful and easier to use.

Find Navigation Pane on the View Ribbon

Turn on the Navigation Pane by going to the View Tab, Show Group and checking the Navigation Pane check box.

Unformatted text on the page and in Navigation Pane

At this point, if your text is unformatted, the Navigation Pane will not look that useful. But, watch what happens when I add styles to the unformatted text.

Text Formatted with Styles appears both on the page and in the Navigation Page

Now the text appears in the Navigation Page in the same style hierarchy used in the document. Now I can use the Navigation Page to quickly move around the document by clicking on the text I want to jump to.

Text can be collapsed and expanded

If there is a lot of text, it can be collapsed and expanded using the triangle buttons.
The Navigation Pane can be used for more than navigation, it can also be used to reorder/reorganize text in the document. For example, perhaps I wish to move the section on the “The Adventures of Pinocchio” after “Aladdin”. I can do this easily by clicking on that heading in the Navigation Pane and dragging it below the heading I want it to follow.

Results of using the Navigation Pane to reorder my document

Not only is that heading moved but all the subtext beneath it is moved as well. Fast and easy document reorganization!

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oxana v

One File to Many – MS Word

A few weeks ago the following request came to me: “I have also been told that there is a way to change and update several … in a bulk fashion, that would speed up the process when customizing many documents for a specific job.” Of course, I immediately started thinking about a process that would allow one to smoothly update a group of standard documents. For example; every time a new customer is being set up.

I reached for the INCLUDETEXT field in Word. In contrast to inserting a file (which takes the entire contents of a file), the INCLUDETEXT field allows you to specify text within a file, when that text has been identified by a bookmark.

The Plan

Set up a “CustomerInfo” source document. Then in my standard documents (target documents), I’d use the INCLUDETEXT field to link to the relevant pieces of information stored in the source document. Updating would be a breeze, simply change the information in the source and the next time the fields are updated in the target document all the correct information will appear. In this process, the Customer Information source document would:

  1. Always have the same file name
  2. Be stored in the same folder as the rest of the customer files. If this is not the case, then the field code in the target document will need to be adapted from my example.

The Source Document

Setting up the source document is pretty straightforward – I’d make a form detailing the information to be collected. However, bookmarks are too easy to delete when adding or updating information. I’d use content controls nested inside the bookmarks. This also takes advantage of tabbing from one control to another, making it faster to input and edit information. The controls can be grouped or placed in a table. But don’t use the Locking options when creating the control. Locking a control prevents the target document from updating.

The Target Document

I’d place the following field in the target document
{INCLUDETEXT "{FILENAME \P}\\..\\source document filename" bookmark}
Replacing the source document filename with the Customer Information filename (including the docx extension) and the bookmark with the name of the bookmark from the source document.
The {FILENAME \P}\\..\\ portion of the field extracts the path & filename of the current file and clips off the filename (using \\..\\), which allows you to substitute the source document filename. Hat tip to MS Word MVP Paul Edstein for this clever solution.


The INCLUDETEXT field is classified as a “warm” field in Word. This means it does not update automatically, but requires user intervention. The user needs to select the field and press the F9 function key to update. If multiple fields are used in the same document, use Ctrl + A to select the entire document, then press F9 to update all fields.
There are macros to update all the fields as well, but the keyboard commands are just as straightforward. Depending on the workflow, I might write a macro to loop through all the documents in a folder and force updating.

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A Summary Sheet In Excel


A summary sheet can be used to quickly view key details from multiple sheets in a large workbook. A correctly formatted summary sheet can be used as the basis for a mail merge in Word.


This morning’s client help call came from a client using Excel to track employee performance reviews. Once the reviews are completed, they will use Word’s Mail Merge feature to generate individual checklists for each employee.

This process starts with a well-designed Excel workbook.

A view of the Summary Sheet
This summary sheet can be used for many purposes, including as the data file for a mail merge.

In the example above, there is a summary sheet which pulls the critical information from each individual employee’s sheet. Regardless of the scenario, a summary sheet is frequently used to present critical information at a glance.

Breaking out the individual sheets in the workbook
Each employee sheet has a similar layout.

Copying and pasting information or creating individually linked formulas is tedious. Instead; try creating a named formula.


The GET.WORKBOOK function is a leftover from the old Excel 4 macro language. This is why the file needs to be saved as a macro enabled file. Even though there is no VBA in it. Finding documentation on GET.WORKBOOK is hard, since Microsoft doesn’t officially support it anymore. But a kind soul has posted here

The GET.WORKBOOK functions cannot be entered directly in a cell, instead you must place them in a named formula. Here is what it looks like, using the Name Manager dialog box. The named formula can be called anything. Here I’ve used ListSheetsFunction as the name.

Adding a Named formula through the Name box
Using GET.WORKBOOK will mean your file will need to be saved as a Macro-Enabled workbook.

Once the named formula has been created, it can be used in conjunction with the INDEX function in the following formula:

Demonstrating how the named formula captures the sheet name
After creating the formula in cell A2, copy it down column A for as many rows as there are sheets in the workbook.

You can see how the formula captures each sheet name as it is copied down the column. Note (this formula doesn’t always recalculate automatically, you may need to close/reopen your workbook or recopy the formula to force recalculation after editing sheet names).

Now that the list of sheet names is in the first column, you can use that to build the formulas that will give you the summary of each sheet in the workbook.

Adding the INDIRECT/ADDRESS formula to link to the key cells in the sheets
Depending on the layout of the detail sheets, you can copy one formula to the rest of the summary sheet.

In this case I copied the formula into cells B2:E4. Now as the fields are updated in each individual sheet, the summary will update. If new sheets are added, the formulas from the previous row can be copied down.

There are hundreds of formulas available in Excel; the trick is to cut through all the options and find the one that does the job you need done.

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