Key Considerations for Cross-References

If you are using cross-references, keep in mind the following:

  • If you are referring to a figure or other named or numbered element, use the name and/or number. Do not use page numbers in this case.
  • Keep cross-references that use page numbers or page ranges to a minimum. Consider the time impact of updating a large volume of cross-references at the proofs stage, as well as the difficulty of locating content that may have moved locations in your manuscript throughout the development process.
  • Consider the reader’s experience. Is the cross-reference helpful, or does it feel gratuitous? Cross-references may be most useful when referring to a specific element or page rather than a large swath of text.
  • Remember that you may be asked to update the cross-references yourself during production. This is because as the author, you are the content expert and will be better able to locate the discussion that you want to reference.
  • When providing cross-references, closely follow the advice in the next section of this guide.

How to Add a Cross-Reference to Your Manuscript

If you are including a cross-reference to a figure, table, or other named element, add the full cross-reference in your text. For example:

For further discussion of beam deflection, see Figure 9.1.

If you are early in the manuscript development process, you may want to flag these for yourself to check before submitting your final manuscript in case any chapter or figure numbers change. You can do this by adding a comment, using highlighting, or using another font color. Note that this is not required but is simply a helpful suggestion.

If you are including a cross-reference to a page or page range, add a placeholder of three zeros in your text. For example:

The ratification process is discussed in further detail on pages 000.

This consistent placeholder will automatically signal to anyone reviewing the manuscript—be it a copyeditor or proofreader—that this is not final and will need to be updated later. Using the current page range in your manuscript may create confusion and it could be assumed to be final later in the process, even though the content has likely moved pages during the production process. The 000 as a placeholder also allows for easy searching of your manuscript files if all instances of cross-referencing need to be quickly located.

In addition to using a placeholder, please also leave a comment that indicates what the cross-reference is referencing. For example, if there is a particular paragraph or paragraphs, leave indication of which by noting chapter number, nearest heading, and a few key phrases from the paragraph to help locate later. This may still change later in the process, but it is a good starting point for trying to locate the content later in production. Even for you as the author, it is a helpful reminder due to the months between when you first may write a chapter and when we arrive at the proofs stage for final cross-reference checks.

These comments also ensure your project editor is aware of the cross-references and can plan for it in the production schedule. If you are working on a preliminary edition, you may be asked to remove cross-references until the first edition due to the shortened production timeline.

If you have further questions, please contact your project editor.