How to Rename a Bookmark in Microsoft Word Using a Free Add-in

268560 How to Rename a Bookmark in Microsoft Word Using a Free Add-in

Bookmarks in Microsoft Word allow you to easily navigate through long documents by creating links to specific sections. You can add and remove bookmarks, but Word does not provide a built-in option to rename existing bookmarks. However, you can download a free add-in called Bookmark Tool that lets you rename bookmarks.

Why Rename Bookmarks

When you first add bookmarks to a Word document, you may give them generic names like “Bookmark1”, “Bookmark2”, etc. to quickly mark locations in your document.

Later, you’ll likely want to rename these bookmarks to more meaningful names related to the content, such as “Introduction”, “Methodology”, “Results”, etc. The Bookmark Tool add-in gives you this capability.

Downloading the Bookmark Tool Add-in

Follow these steps to download and install the Bookmark Tool add-in:

1. Download the Add-in

Go to this page and click the “Bookmark Tools” link under “You can download the Bookmark Tool add-in template here:” to download the .dotm file containing the add-in.

2. Add the Add-in Template to Word

In Word, go to File > Options > Add-ins. Select Templates from the Manage drop-down menu and click Go. Click Add and browse to the .dotm file you downloaded. Click OK.

3. Enable the Add-in

With the .dotm template added, go to the Add-ins tab in Word and click Open Bookmarker in the Bookmark Tool section. The Bookmark Tool dialog box will open.

Renaming Bookmarks

Once the Bookmark Tool add-in is enabled, renaming bookmarks is simple:

1. Select the Bookmark to Rename

In the Bookmark Tool dialog box, all your document’s bookmarks are listed. Click the bookmark you want to rename. Word will jump to that bookmark in the document.

2. Check the Rename Box

In the Add/Rename Bookmark section, check the Rename selected bookmark box.

3. Enter New Name

In the text box below, enter the new name for your bookmark.

4. Click Rename

Click the Rename button. The bookmark is now renamed.

Repeat steps 1-4 to rename additional bookmarks. When finished, close the Bookmark Tool dialog box.

The updated bookmark names will also display in Word’s built-in Bookmark dialog box.

Accessing Renamed Bookmarks

After renaming bookmarks, you can still jump to them using the same methods:

  • Ctrl+G to open the Go To tab and select the bookmark from the list
  • Insert > Bookmark to see all bookmarks. Click one to jump to it.
  • If you have links to the bookmarks, the links will still work even if the bookmark is renamed.

So the Bookmark Tool add-in provides an easy way to rename your bookmarks for better organization, without breaking existing links or access to those bookmarks.

Best Practices for Using Bookmarks

When working with bookmarks in your Word documents, keep these best practices in mind:

Bookmark Names

  • Start with a letter
  • Can include numbers and letters
  • Cannot contain spaces. Use underscores to separate words (e.g. First_heading)

Limit the Number of Bookmarks

  • Don’t overuse bookmarks as it can cause file size bloat and performance lag
  • For long documents, aim for one bookmark per major section

Link to Bookmarks Using Fields

  • Don’t just insert the bookmark text via copy/paste
  • Insert bookmarks using fields so the content stays in sync
  • Updating the source text will flow to all linked instances

Show Bookmarks

  • Display bookmark names in the document using Insert > Links > Bookmarks > Show
  • Helps avoid duplicate names and confirms linking worked

Organize with Headings

  • Use Word’s heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to structure major document sections
  • Helps users understand your document’s organization


The Bookmark Tool add-in for Word provides an easy way to overcome the platform’s limitation in renaming bookmarks. Along with best practices like descriptive names and using fields to link bookmarks, it helps manage document navigation and layout.

With the ability to now rename bookmarks, you can improve the usability of lengthy Word documents for both yourself and readers.

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