This page is about how to repeat data in a document using mapped content controls.
This can be relatively easy, or somewhat complex. This page is not comprehensive. It is based on things I
learned from Greg Maxey's pages. I wrote it because I frequently answer
questions on how to type information in one location in a document and have
it show up in other places as well. If it is something that you want to have
in a header or footer to reflect the content of the page or section,
you should use a StyleRef Field. For repeating in the body of the document, if you are
using Word versions predating Word 2007, you should use bookmarks and REF
fields. In Word 2007 and later, though, I prefer
Macintosh Versions 2011 and 2016 have a limited ability to use Content
Controls, but not to create them.
If you are going to repeat information in multiple documents, you should
Automated Boilerplate Using Microsoft Word and
There are at least two ways to repeat information in a document using
Content Controls. The easiest is to use the Document Property Content
Controls. This works for up to 15 separate items of text. The second is with Mapped Content Controls. (The document property
content controls are actually built-in mapped content controls.) Mapped
Content Controls are more flexible and there is no practical limit on the
number you can use. In addition, the document properties content controls
may only be useful for text while other kinds of mapped content controls can
have other kinds of data.
Document Property Content Controls
You can insert Document Property Content Controls using Insert > Quick
Parts > Document Property
There are 15 choices, some of which correspond to the summary document
properties. Here, though, we are not using them for that. We are using them
to repeat data. Fourteen are plain-text controls and the Publish Date
control is a Date-Picker control.
I recommend using Abstract, Publish Date, and Status first. Here is an
This does not seem very useful until you see that you can modify these by
using the Developer Tab and choosing
Properties. That will let you change the tab at the top from "Abstract" to
whatever you want, i.e.,
"First Party Name".
Then you can use Developer Mode to change the placeholder text.
Remember to click out of Developer Mode when you are done. Once you have these
text changes made, you can replicate the information throughout
your document by using the same document property controls. If you insert
them directly as you did the first time, they will have their original
titles. However, if you instead copy and paste, you will get your new
titles. When information is changed in one location, it changes throughout
the document in the same document property content controls.
Here is the same thing with the fields filled in. When you
tab out of a content control after editing it, the same control changes
throughout the document.
Everything I know about doing this came from
this page by Greg Maxey in
Repeating Data (Populating Multiple Like Fields) There are numerous ways
of repeating information in a Word context. This is only one of them. I urge
you to review Greg's page for more information.
Once you have modified these Document Property Content Controls for one
document, it is possible to save them for use in another by saving them as
The Document Property Content Controls are a special case of what are
called Mapped Content Controls. They are a special case because they come
already mapped in Word. They are the equivalent of plain text content
controls except the Publish Date which is a Date Picker Control. If you want the features of a different kind of Content Control,
you will have to map it to the document's XML directly.
Mapped Content Controls
Mapped Content Controls by Greg Maxey for information on how
Frankly, I do not understand it nearly as well as Greg does. I use his
Content Control Tools©, though, to create
them and they work fine. You can download the utility from
Content Control Tools
These are free. (Greg would really appreciate donations, though, if you
find it useful.)
It simplifies creation of a mapped content control. I know it works with
Drop-Down Lists, Date Picker, Picture and Plain Text. I assume that it works with the others as
well. Note the Word version limitation on mapping of Rich Text and Check Box controls. As with the Document
Property controls, once you have created one, you can copy it elsewhere in
your document to replicate data. As with the Document Property controls,
they are mapped so changing something in one location in your document
changes it elsewhere.
For more on this and many other ways to repeat information in a Word document,
see: Repeating Data (Populating Multiple Like Fields) by Greg Maxey.
Saving Modified Document Property Content Controls as
Building Blocks / AutoText
You cannot save any content controls as AutoText. Period. (As of
Word 2016 what you get is text.)
If you save mapped controls that are not Document Property Content
Controls in building blocks (other than AutoText) they will function as
content controls but do not retain their mapping.
You can save altered Document Property Content Controls in Building
Blocks as Building Blocks other than AutoText.
For instance, if you add a modified document property content control and
save that as a building block (not AutoText) then it will keep your
modifications but still function as a mapped control in a new document. I
recommend using Building Blocks that do not assume a particular position
(i.e. not a Cover Page, Header, or Footer). I tested with an Equation
Building Block and a Page Number Building Block (without position).
These altered document property content controls in the new document
remain mapped to that node in the new document.
Note that if the Content Control was the first thing on the page, it
seemed that it did not work to create the Building Block. This may have been
a problem with the entire Building Block not being part of the selection.
It is possible to have multiple Content Controls included in a single
Building Block. So, if you have a set of modified document property content
controls that you would like to be able to reuse, you could save them in a
single building block to be able to insert into a new document.
More on built-in document properties
Microsoft has a number of built-in document properties and also allows
custom document properties. You can see these under File (Office
Button) > Properties > Advanced.
Most of the Document Property Content Controls are reflected in the
built-in properties shown in this dialog. For those properties, changing
them in a Content Control or in the dialog changes them everywhere. You can
also use DocProperty fields to reflect any of the built-in or custom
Macintosh Versions 2011 and 2016
Caveat, I have not used either of these Word versions. This information comes from
John Korchok, an experienced Mac Word user.
It is my understanding that while neither of these has the ability to
insert content controls, mapped or otherwise, that most will work in these
versions. They have to be created using a Windows version, though. The Date
Picker Content Control does not work on a Mac.
I have compiled a .dotx template containing the document property content
controls that work in these Mac versions. Again, you can't edit any names
but they can be copied and pasted into documents on a Mac and will work as
mapped content controls within the new documents.
containing Content Controls for use on a Mac. Version 17.2
I recommend, instead,
creating templates in a Windows environments where these can be edited as
described above. However, I expect this will be of some use to some users
who do not have access to Word in a Windows environment.