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How to Insert a Placeholder in Word [Step-by-Step]

February 18, 2024 1.4K views

While working on a Word document, you might want to save some space for specific details or future additions without messing up the formatting of your document. You can add placeholders that handy blank fields in Microsoft Word that reserve space for upcoming content. With placeholders, document editing becomes easier, ensuring a smooth and dynamic writing experience. In this article, we'll guide you through the simple process of how to insert different placeholders in a Word document.

What is a placeholder in Word?

In Microsoft Word, a placeholder is an empty area in a document that has been pre-formatted to hold one type or another of content. This is why placeholder makes it much easier to create and customize documents because a structured format has been set up where you only need to enter various bits of information, without having the hassle each time of manually setting up the layout structure. They are often used in templates to show users where to enter specific information. Let’s see some common types of placeholders in Word:

  1. Text Placeholder: Such a placeholder is used to hold text. It can include instructions or signs indicating what kind of data can be entered in that space. For Example, as in a resume template, text placeholders may show where to enter your name or job title.

  2. Image Placeholder: The image placeholder is to retain space for graphics or pictures. This permits users to substitute or insert images in a fixed area quickly. For Example, An image placeholder showing a company logo would be inserted here in a brochure template.

  3. Table Placeholder: This placeholder is used to hold tables and therefore ensures consistent formatting and layout for tabular data. A table placeholder could be provided in the report template for data presentation purposes.

  4. Date/Time Placeholder: This placeholder inserts and displays specified date or time information. For example, a meeting agenda template might use a date/time placeholder to represent when the meeting is scheduled.

  5. Page Number Placeholder: This placeholder is generally used to automatically generate and display page numbers in headers or footers. For example, a page number placeholder may appear in the footer of an established document template.

  6. Chart/Graph Placeholder: This placeholder is intended for documents in which charts or graphs must appear. In a financial report template, for example, the chart placeholder can be used to illustrate trends.

  7. Citation Placeholder: A citation placeholder in Microsoft Word is a designated space within a document reserved for inserting citation details. It allows users to mark where citations will be added later, facilitating the smooth drafting of content before finalizing reference information. This is especially helpful in academic or professional documents requiring accurate citation of sources.

How to Add Different Placeholders in Word?

Inserting a placeholder in Microsoft Word is a straightforward process. Let us take you through a step-by-step guide:

Text Placeholder

Step 1: Open an existing document or create a new one in Microsoft Word.

Create a new document on Microsoft Word

Step 2: If the Developer tab is not visible on the ribbon, you might need to activate it. Navigate to "File", then select "Options", followed by "Customize Ribbon". From there, ensure the "Developer" option is checked, and you should now see the Developer tab on the ribbon.

How to customize Ribbon in Word

Step 3: Click on the "Developer" tab in the ribbon.

Developer tools in Microsoft word

Step 4: In the Developer tab, click on "Rich Text Content Control" or "Plain Text Content Control", depending on your preference. This will act as a text placeholder.

How to insert Text Content Control in Word

Step 5: Click on the document where you want to insert the text placeholder. The content control will appear at that location.

How to insert text placeholder in Word

You can modify the default text in the placeholder to provide guidance or instructions for the user.

Date/Time Placeholder

The date/time placeholder in Microsoft Word stands as a crucial tool. It fulfills the need for accurate time-related information, ensuring documents are not only well-organized but also dynamically responsive to time-sensitive details. To add this placeholder in your document, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your Word document and click on the "Developer" tab in the ribbon.

How to use the Developer tool in Word to insert a placeholder

Step 2: In the Developer tab, click on "Date Picker Content Control" or "Time Picker Content Control", depending on your preference. This will act as a date/time placeholder.

Step 3: Click in the document where you want to insert the date/time placeholder. The content control for the date/time will appear at that location.

How to insert Date and time in Word Document

By following these simple steps, you can seamlessly insert a date/time placeholder in your Microsoft Word document, providing a designated space for displaying specified date or time information.

Page Number Placeholder

Step 1: Open your Document in Word and then navigate to the header or footer of your document where you want the page number to appear. You can do this by double-clicking at the top or bottom of the page, depending on your preference.

How to insert Header/Footer in Word

Step 2: Click on the "Insert" tab in the ribbon. Then, in the Insert tab, find the "Page Number" option. Click on it to reveal the menu.

How to add Page numbers in a Word document

Step 3: Choose a style for your page numbers. You can opt for plain numbers, or explore various formatting options.

How to add different styles of page numbers in Word

Image Placeholder

Inserting a picture in Microsoft Word is a straightforward process. Ready to master this task? Let's tackle it together!

Step 1: Head to the Developer tab and click on the mysterious "Picture Content Control" button. This will act as an image placeholder.

How to add Image/Picture Placeholder in Microsoft Word

Step 2: Click on the document where you want to insert the image placeholder. The content control will appear at that location.

How to insert Picture Placeholder in a Word document

Step 3: You can modify the default image in the placeholder by right-clicking on it and selecting "Change Picture".

How to change image in a picture placeholder

These steps involve using content controls from the Developer tab, which may not be visible by default. Keep in mind that placeholders created with content controls are more commonly used in templates for guiding users. If you're working with a template, you may find predefined placeholders that you can simply replace with your content.

Citation Placeholder

Step 1: Navigate to the spot in your Word document where you intend to include a future citation and place your cursor there.

Citation in Word Document

Step 2: Locate the "References" tab in the toolbar at the top of the window and click on it.

Microsoft Word Reference tab

Step 3: In the "References" tab, you will find the "Citations & Bibliography" section, there click on the "Insert Citation" option.

How to add Citation and Bibliography in a Word document

Step 4: Now, from the drop-down menu, select "Add New Placeholder".

How to add Citation Placeholder in Word Document

Step 5: In the "Placeholder Name" dialog box, type a name for your placeholder into the text box (avoid using spaces). Click "OK" to insert the placeholder and exit the dialog box.

Rename your Citation Placeholder

Step 6:Your placeholder now appears as the text you entered in parentheses.

Microsoft Word Citation Placeholder

Step 7: When you're ready to fill in your placeholders, go to the ribbon and click on "Manage Sources".

Microsoft Word Manage sources

Step 8: In the "Source Manager" dialog box, find the placeholder you want to replace in the "Current List" section, then click on it.

How to Replace Citation Placeholder with Citation

Step 9: After selecting the placeholder, click "Edit". Within the "Edit Source" dialog box, you can input all the required details for your citation. Select "OK" to go back to the "Source Manager" dialog box.

How to fill citation details in Word document

Step 10: Click "Close" to exit the "Source Manager" dialog box when you've finished replacing placeholders.Word will replace your original placeholder with a proper citation, and you're done!

Replace original placeholder with a proper citation

These steps ensure that you can seamlessly insert and manage citation placeholders in your Word document, simplifying the citation process as you fill in the details later.

How to delete or modify the placeholder in Word?

Once placeholders are inserted, what if some are no longer needed or require modification? In this section, we'll guide you on deleting or modifying placeholders efficiently. Streamline your document editing process.

Deleting a Placeholder

Step 1: Click on the placeholder you want to delete. The placeholder might be a text box, content control, or any other element in your document.

How to remove a placeholder

Step 2: Simply press the "Delete" key on your keyboard to remove the selected placeholder.

How to delete any Placeholder

Modifying Text Placeholder

Whether it's deletion, addition, or text replacement, this straightforward process ensures a seamless editing experience, allowing you to precisely adjust the content within the placeholder to meet your document's requirements.

Step 1: Click inside the text placeholder or select the text within it.

Step 2: Modify the text as needed. You can delete, add, or replace text within the placeholder.

How to add, replace, and delete text in a text placeholder

Modifying Image Placeholder

This straightforward process empowers you to precisely adjust images within your document, ensuring a polished and visually engaging final product, in just two succinct steps, you can seamlessly update your visuals.

Step 1: Click on the image placeholder or select the image within it.

How to Modify a Picture placeholder in Word

How to Modify a Picture placeholder in Word

Step 2: If you want to change the image, right-click on the placeholder and choose "Change Picture". Upload a different image from your files.

How to change an image in a picture placeholder

How to change an image in a picture placeholder

Alt text: How to change an image in a picture placeholder

These steps should help you delete or modify placeholders in Microsoft Word, whether text-based or involving other elements like images or content controls.

Why choose the WPS Office for our work?

WPS Office can be a practical alternative for document creation, particularly for users who like to use placeholders. Notably, its cost-effectiveness accommodates various user profiles, including students, freelancers, and those mindful of their budgets.

WPS Office

WPS Office

The compatibility with Microsoft Office files enhances collaborative work, facilitating smooth interactions between different software platforms. Within the WPS Office, the process of inserting and working with placeholders is user-friendly, eliminating those unnecessary complexities. Whether you're adding text, images, or other elements, the platform prioritizes simplicity. Moreover, the ease of downloading and utilizing WPS Office, whether on a Windows PC or any Android or iOS device, ensures a straightforward document creation experience.

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FAQs about how to insert a placeholder in word?

Q1. How to insert a placeholder in PowerPoint?

To add a placeholder in PowerPoint, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your PowerPoint presentation and navigate to the "View" tab in the ribbon.

Step 2: Click on "Slide Master". You can locate this in the Master Views section.

Step 3: Within the Slide Master view, choose the slide layout where you intend to insert the placeholder.

Step 4: Click on "Insert Placeholder" found in the Master Layout group.

Step 5: A drop-menu will appear. Select the type of placeholder you wish to include (e.g., Text, Picture, Chart, etc.) from the drop-down menu.

Step 6: Click on the desired location on the slide layout and drag to create the placeholder.

Q2. How to add a placeholder to a WordPress?

Here are the steps to add a placeholder to a WordPress form field using the Ninja Forms plugin:

Step 1: Choose a text form field. Click on the specific field within the form builder where you want to incorporate a placeholder.

Step 2: Access the Display tab of the form field.

Step 3: Input the placeholder text. Enter the desired text to be displayed as a placeholder in the designated Placeholder field and save your changes.

Q3. How to insert a picture placeholder in Word?

Here's a step-by-step guide to effortlessly incorporate image placeholders into your Word document, ensuring a visually engaging and structured presentation:

Step 1: Open your Word document.

Step 2: Position the cursor where you want to place an image placeholder.

Step 3: Navigate to the Insert tab on the Ribbon and select the Table option in the Tables group. You need to create a table that will hold the image placeholder.

Step 4: A dialog box for inserting a table will appear. Choose a single row and column (1x1 Table) from the displayed options. Adjust the table size as needed.

Step 5: Inside the table, go to the Developer tab on the Ribbon, and click on the Picture Content Control option in the Controls section.

Step 6: A Picture Content Control will be added inside the table. A Picture Content Control is similar to the image Placeholder. Resize it to the size of the table.

Step 7: To insert an image, click on the center of the placeholder, choose your image, and click Insert at the bottom of the screen.

Placeholders and Efficiency

Understanding how to insert placeholders in Microsoft Word can streamline the automation of processes like mail merge and other automation features. This knowledge also facilitates more effective and efficient collaboration by clearly indicating to users where they should input their information in a well-formatted document.

Remember that WPS Office can be a practical choice for your document needs. Its budget-friendly approach, user-friendly features, and compatibility make it a solid option for students, freelancers, and budget-conscious professionals. Feel free to enhance your document creation by exploring placeholders and enjoying the convenience of the WPS Office.


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