Oh, No! Another guy named "Peter" on the ID forum! The good thing is that none of us so far have the same lastname initial.
Most of the problems I've heard about with ID cross-references relate to references that from one document to another in multiple-document books.
It's not clear if you or your colleagues are are having problems with converting Word documents that contain cross-references to ID, vice-versa, and perhaps back and forth multiple times. It's also not clear exactly what problems your co-workers are having with ID's cross-references. And, if their software is not updated to the latest patch/bugfix, doing the update might solve the problem. If they're working with files across a network, and/or if multiple authors work on the same files, it's possible to introduce problems. Without knowing the exact problem(s) it's hard to suggest solutions.
With the caveat that cross-file cross-references are known to be problematic, ID cross-references can do what you describe. If you're not familiar with using them, search Google for "indesign cross-references tutorial" without quotes for details. If you describe problems in a Google search, like "indesign cs4 (or whatever version) cross-reference doesn't update when...," without quotes, you'll find more-specific stuff.
Users who have left ID's native cross-references behind, in favor of the commercial third-party Cross-References for InDesign, from dtptools.com, have reported that everything works as expected, always. There's a downloadable trial, and good prompt thorough tech support.
I am in a situation where I have to maintain two types of documents. One set is all maintained in MS Word 2007. The other set is all kept in Adobe InDesign CS4 files. Cross references in Word are a simple thing.
I've read a lot of confusing information about cross references in ID. It would save me tons of time if ID had a feature that worked like the MS Word cross references work. Meaning, I can have one figure or table with a label that is referenced many times throughout the rest of the ID document. When a new figure or table is inserted into the file and auto numbering assigns the figure number and adjusts all those that follow, all of my references to the older figures will automatically update.
I've been told by my new co-workers who spend all day in ID CS4, that the cross references in ID CS4 don't work well and I have to manually edit my references if I'm unfortunate enough to have to add a new figure to an existing series of figures.
Anyone have some useful advice to share on this subject?
Well, Peter G. comes before Peter H. so it makes sense you'd know more about this than I would. :-)
In this case, all of the cross references will be to locations within the same ID file.
There is no conversion between Word and ID... I just have to use both apps to keep my day job of cleaning up documents from the engineers who write in Word. We use ID for larger documents that require more a more "professional" touch. :-)
What problems are they having? I don't know... we've never gone into a detailed discussion... I just know I need to find a better answer than I've heard so far.
I'll conduct a search tonight when I am on my personal bandwidth and see what video tutorials I can come up with. I suspect that will be faster than wading through courses on my Lynda account.
Thanks for your help!