I’ve been going through my thesis and checking all my chapter and sub-section references so they point to the right section after edits. A friend (thanks Bruce!) just pointed out that there’s a feature in Word that – if I had known about it – would have saved me the trouble.
“If you did your section and chapter headings with a suitable heading style, and put in the references with insert cross-reference -> numbered item, it should indeed renumber them automatically.”
I can’t believe I have been using Word for over 20 years (!) and never discovered that feature. I am also a little put out that nobody told me about it. So I hope this helps someone else (though I fear it may be a little late for me).