Word’s SEQ field code - all the options and switches

Get the most from the SEQ (Sequence) field code in Microsoft Word using these options and switches. Office-Watch.com has tested all the {SEQ} features and found a few things that are different from the official Office documentation.

To start with {SEQ } check out Why Word’s SEQ code is a godsend

{ SEQ Identifier [Bookmark ] [Switches ] }

Identifier – required

Every SEQ code needs an identifier to tag each sequence or list. 

Identifiers must start with a letter, no more than 40 characters. 

Identifiers are NOT case-sensitive e.g. {SEQ dwarves} {SEQ Dwarves} and {SEQ dwArves} are treated as the same identifier/sequence. However it’s recommended that all the identifiers have the same case to make Find or Replace work smoothly.

More Characters in SEQ

According to Microsoft only letters, numbers and underscore are allowed. In our testing, a wider range of characters work including ~ @ # ^ & - * some of those would be useful to separate words in a long identifier e.g. { SEQ Tolkien-Dwarves } or { SEQ Dwarfs&Dwarves }

Warning: don’t use \ in an identifier { SEQ Dwarfs\Dwarves } because Word will likely mistake it for the start of a field switch with unexpected results or an error.

Bookmark – optional

A bookmark name that refers to a bookmark in the document.  Use it for cross-referencing.

Use this to make a numbered list of bookmarked items. 

An identifier is still required with a bookmark.

Switches or options

Just like other Word field codes, there are switches starting with a “\” to change how the code works.


Repeats the closest preceding sequence number and does NOT increment the numbering.

Mostly used to repeat the SEQ value on that page in headers/footers.


SEQ increments the numbering but hides the field result from the document.

Could be used to skip a number in the sequence.

Or refer to a Seq field in a cross-reference without printing the number. For example, you might want to refer to a chapter but not print that chapter’s number.

The \h switch will still show the result if a formatting switch (\* or \# ) is present. According to Microsoft docs only \* will override the \h switch but in our testing both \* and \# will ‘unhide’ the SEQ value.


Isn’t really necessary because this is the SEQ default. It increments to the next sequence number.

In other words {SEQ OfficeWatch} and {SEQ OfficeWatch \n} do the same thing.

\r n

Changes or resets sequence numbering to the specified n.

For example, { SEQ OfficeWatch \r 3 } starts figure numbering at 3.  In our testing, no space was necessary between \r and the number e.g. { SEQ OfficeWatch \r3} also worked.


Resets the sequence number at the heading level following the “s”. For example, { SEQ figure \s 2 } starts numbering at the Heading 2 style’s number.

Office-Watch.com has a full example at Understanding the \s switch in Word’s {SEQ} code

Why Word’s SEQ code is a godsend
Understanding the \s switch in Word’s {SEQ} code

Join Office for Mere Mortals today

Office for Mere Mortals is where thousands pick up useful tips and tricks for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  We've never spammed or sold addresses since we started over twenty years ago.
Invalid email address