Detecting errors within template documents

Our Word plugin can help identify errors, and elements that may be errors, in your MS Word templates.

What can be detected?

In addition to helping you search for and bulk edit content controls, the plugin is aimed at helping you to identify:

  • (broken and faulty cross-references)  cross-references (ie, automatic cross-references that have been inserted using MS Word's cross-referencing tool) that are broken or faulty; and
  • (common errors)  mistakes, and potential mistakes, in the construction of your content controls.

Broken and faulty cross-references

To identify broken and faulty cross-references, run the word plugin (method hereand navigate to the "Cross references" tab.

Broken cross-references

The "Find cross reference errors" button will update the fields in your document and then search for the following:

  • "Error! Reference Source Not Found"  – this arises where a cross-reference has been inserted to a paragraph that has since been deleted; and
  • "clause 0" and similar phrases – these arise where a cross-reference has been inserted to a numbered item that has since had it's numbering removed (ie, the style of the relevant paragraph has been changed from a numbered style to an unnumbered style).

Faulty cross-references

The "Mark faulty cross references" button will identify cross-references that refer to multiple paragraphs. A common bug in MS Word's cross-referencing system is that a cross-reference can become linked to multiple paragraphs with different numbering. When this happens, the cross-reference will not be updated correctly – it will not appear as broken, but will be incorrect!

This tool marks all such cross-references with the text "XXXXXXX" so that you can easily find and fix them. To fix these faulty cross-references, it is necessary to delete the underlying bookmark from the document and then replace the cross-reference entirely. A screen recording showing the process for finding and fixing a faulty cross-reference is provided below:

Common errors

The tool also enables you to detect errors, and potential errors, in the construction of your document, especially in relation to content controls. To check for errors, and potential errors, in the construction of your document, run the word plugin (method here) and navigate to the "Common mistakes" tab.

Here you will see a number of checkboxes for the various items that can be identified, as follows:


The following items are definitely (or almost certainly) errors:

  • content controls with no title
  • two adjacent content controls with the same range name applied (almost certainly you will have intended adjacent ranges to have different names)
  • sentences that contain a double-space

Possible errors

The following items may indicate errors in the construction of your document and should be investigated:

  • single space as the first character in a paragraph
  • single space as the last character in a paragraph

Potential errors

The following items have a significant risk of being errors and should be checked:

  • a space between two content controls
  • two adjacent content controls, one beginning with a space and the other not

Examples of all of these issues are provided in the following screen recording, which also demonstrates how to detect them:

As shown in the above screen recording, double-clicking each item will automatically navigate  you to, and select, the relevant content, making it easy for you to review the items that have been identified and fix any errors.

Find Out More

To learn how to:

  • Install the Word plugin, please click here.
  • Find content controls, please click here.
  • Use find-and-replace in content controls, please click here.