Microsoft Word/error warning


QUESTION: hi Suzanne, how've you been?

I use Word 2013 and Windows 7.

I have a large (is 100 pages considered large?) document with lots of graphics.

The problem: I'm noticing quite a few mentions of  "Error.Reference Source not found".
They are all a result of using cross-references where a caption,adjacent to a graphic, also appears in nearby text.

I'm puzzled because many of these error messages appear in places where I DID NOT use the cross-reference option. In other words, mention of the caption in the text was done by MANUALLY ENTERING THE CAPTION in the nearby text.
I always believed that the error message could only appear if cross-referencing was used.
In any case, what can I do when the error message appears? Is there a way to restore the actual text of the caption?

I hope I've written a clear question. If not, my apologies. You know how much I value your replies.


ANSWER: Your question seems quite clear, but the problem you describe sounds quite baffling. If you press Alt+F9 (or Shift+F9 with the insertion point in the error message), do you see a REF field? If so, then you must somehow have inserted a cross-reference (though it's not clear why it would generate an error).

Did you perhaps copy/paste the caption instead of retyping it? If so, then since the caption itself of course contains a (SEQ) field, this might generate some sort of error. In any case, what happens if you delete the error text and retype the caption in the text?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Suzanne!

Thanks for your reply. I'm totally baffled.
First, when I press Alt+F9, in one case, I see a REF field.
Second, no, I didn't copy/paste the caption; I retyped it manually.
Third, I'm seeing the "Error...." message anew, meaning it is appearing in places where I entered manual caption data.

As to your last question, I will try to retype the caption in the text and see what happens.

I'll be in touch.

Thanks again.


If you see a REF field, there's definitely a cross-reference there. I would think that a cross-reference would actually be a good thing, at least if you are including the caption number, because it could then be updated automatically. If you're repeating just the caption text, then it wouldn't matter, and you should definitely type it rather than copy/paste it just to be on the safe side.
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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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