Add or delete captions

A caption is a numbered label, such as Figure 1, that you can add to a figure, a table, an equation, or another object.

A caption with a label and a number

Callout 1 Label that you select
Callout 2 Number that Microsoft Office Word inserts for you

You can vary the caption label and number format for different types of items — for example, Table II and Equation 1-A. You can also create a new caption label, such as Photo.

If you later add, delete, or move captions, you can easily update the caption numbers all at once.

What do you want to do?


Add captions

You can add captions to figures, equations, or other objects. You can also use those captions to create a table of the captioned items for example, a table of figures or a table of equations.

If the objects in your document are formatted as floating objects (floating object: A graphic or other object that is inserted in the drawing layer so that you can position it precisely on the page or in front of or behind text or other objects.), follow the instructions for adding captions to floating objects.

Add a caption

  1. Select the object (table, equation, figure, or another object) that you want to add a caption to.
  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In the Label list, select the label that best describes the object, such as a picture or equation. If the list doesn't provide the correct label, click New Label, type the new label in the Label box, and then click OK.
  2. Type any text, including punctuation, that you want to appear after the label.
  3. Select any other options you want.

 Note   Microsoft Office Word inserts captions as text, but it inserts the sequential caption number as a field. If your caption looks similar to {SEQ Table \* ARABIC}, Word is displaying field codes (field code: Placeholder text that shows where specified information from your data source will appear; the elements in a field that generate a field's result. The field code includes the field characters, field type, and instructions.) instead of field results (field results: Text or graphics inserted in a document when Microsoft Word carries out a field's instructions. When you print the document or hide field codes, the field results replace the field codes.). To see the field results, press ALT+F9, or right-click the field code and then click Toggle Field Codes on the shortcut menu.

Add a caption to a floating object

If you want to be able to wrap text around the object and caption, or you want to be able to move the object and the caption together, you need to insert both the object and the caption into a text box.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Text Box, and then click Draw Text Box.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In your document, drag to draw the text box over the object.
  2. Under Text Box Tools, on the Format tab, in the Text Box Styles group, click Shape Fill, and then click No Fill.
  3. Under Text Box Tools, on the Format tab, in the Arrange group, click Text Wrapping, and then click the text wrapping option that you used for the object.
  4. Under Text Box Tools, on the Format tab, in the Arrange group, click Send Behind Text.
  5. Select the object, and then click Cut in the Clipboard group on the Home tab. Or press CTRL+X.
  6. Click in the text box, and then click Paste in the Clipboard group on the Home tab. Or press CTRL+V.
  7. Select the object.
  8. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In the Label list, select the label that best describes the object, such as a picture or equation. If the list doesn't provide the correct label, click New Label, type the new label in the Label box, and then click OK.
  2. Type any text that you want to appear after the label.
  3. Select any other options that you want.

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Include chapter numbers in captions

To include chapter numbers in captions, you must apply a unique heading style (heading style: Formatting applied to a heading. Microsoft Word has nine different built-in styles: Heading 1 through Heading 9.) to chapter headings. For example, if you use the Heading 1 style for chapter headings, do not use the Heading 1 style for any other text in the document.

Step 1: Apply numbering to the chapter headings in your document

  1. Select the first chapter heading in your document.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the arrow next to Multilevel List.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. Click a chapter-numbering list definition (one that includes the text Heading 1 or Chapter 1).

The chapter-numbering list definition is applied to the heading styles in your document.

  1. To add the next numbered heading, click select the heading, and then click the heading style in the Quick Styles gallery.

Step 2: Include chapter numbers in captions

  1. Select the item that you want to add a caption to.
  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In the Label list, select the item for which you want Microsoft Office Word to insert a caption.
  2. Type any text that you want to appear after the label.
  3. Click Numbering.
  4. Select the Include chapter number check box.
  5. In the Chapter starts with style list, select the heading style that was applied to the chapter heading.
  6. In the Use separator list, select a punctuation mark to separate the chapter number from the caption number.

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Delete a caption

  1. Select the caption you want to delete from your document.
  2. Press DELETE.

After you delete a caption, you can update the remaining captions.

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Change captions

You can change the numbering format, change the label on a caption or change all of the caption labels in a document, and update all of the labels in a document after making changes to one or several.

Do any of the following:

Change the label of a single caption

  1. Select the caption that you want to change.
  2. Press DELETE to delete the existing caption, and then press ENTER.
  3. Insert a new caption that uses the label that you want.

Change labels in all captions of the same type

  1. Select the number of a caption that has the label that you want to change.

For example, to change all instances of Figure to Table, select 1 in the caption Figure 1.

  1. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In the Label box, click the label that you want or click New Label.

For example, click Table.

Change the number format for captions

  1. Select the number of a caption that has the number format that you want to change.

For example, select 1 in the caption Figure 1.

  1. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. Click Numbering.
  2. In the Format box, click the number format that you want.

The caption number that you selected will update to the new number format and so will the numbers of the other caption numbers that are associated with that label. Captions that use a different label will not be updated. For example, if you add chapter numbers for captions that have a Figure label, the change will not affect captions that have an Equation label.

Update caption numbers

If you insert a new caption, Microsoft Office Word automatically updates the caption numbers. However, if you delete or move a caption, you must manually update the captions.

  1. Select a caption or captions to update. Do one of the following:
    • To update a specific caption, select it.
    • To update all captions, click anywhere in the document and press CTRL+A to select the entire document.
  2. Right-click, and then click Update Field on the shortcut menu.

 Tip   You can also update captions by selecting a specific caption or the entire document and then pressing F9.

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Create a table based on the captions

  1. In your document, place the cursor where you want to insert a table of figures.
  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Table of Figures.
  1. In the Table of Figures dialog box, select the label that you want to use in the Caption label list under General.

If your document contains captions with different labels and you want to include all of the captions in one table of figures, click Options, select the Style check box, and then select Caption in the list.


Show me Demo image for creating a table of figures

                             Video created by Office Online staff writers

Assistance Problems watching the video? Try our troubleshooting tips.


 Tip   If you make changes to the captions in your document, you can update the table of figures by selecting it and then pressing F9.

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Applies to:
Word 2007