How to Add Captions in Word

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Word’s Caption feature allows you to insert captions after figures, tables or equations in your document. You can choose to have Word insert them automatically or do it yourself manually. Lets learn how to add and edit captions to set apart elements in your document.

You are not limited to figures, tables or equations; you can create a new label like Picture or Photo. If you are using Chapters in your document, you can add the Chapter number to your caption. Almost any object or inserted item in Word can be captioned.

This is for PCs, Macs and similar platforms that support Microsoft Word

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Add a Caption

There are two ways to add a caption:

  1. Select the figure/table/equation, right click and select Insert Caption. (Note! This method works only for figures and tables, not equations.)
  2. Select the figure/table/equation, go to the References tab on the ribbon and select Insert Caption. See below image:
Word Caption 1

If you don’t select the object and choose References > Insert Caption the caption will be inserted where the cursor is placed.

Your Caption Options

The Caption dialog box will now open, with a number of options for you to set. Refer to below image;

Word Caption 2

Below are the options to chose from:

Captions – type in the label you want

Label – or more correctly caption prefix.  Choose table, equation or figure. This will automatically add that label to the caption.

New Label – If you want your captions to have a label other than the ones provided, you can add a new one from the New Label option. (For example, Word provides the options Equation, Figure and Table, but if you are including photos in your document, you may prefer to label them Picture or Photo.)

Exclude Label from Captions – check this box and no label/prefix will be included. The caption will just contain the number and the text that you enter.

Position – caption to appear above or below the object. Only works if the object is selected before Insert Caption. Otherwise this field will be disabled and the caption placed where you have set your cursor.

AutoCaption certain types of objects can be automatically captioned when they are included in a document.

The caption will now appear in the specified location, with its number automatically allocated. See following image:

Word Capture 3
Figure 1- View of LZ Cindy from Searchlight Hill

Numbering Options for Your Captions

If you want to change the format of the numbering system on your captions, do this by clicking the Numbering button in the Caption dialog box. Refer to below image:

Word Capture 4

The Caption Numbering dialog box will open. See below image:

Word Capture 5

Format: Choose the numbering format you want to use:

  • Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4…)
  • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, d…)
  • Uppercase letters (A, B, C, D…)
  • Lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv…)
  • Uppercase Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV…)
  • And others depending on the installed language packs.

Include Chapter Number: If your document contains chapters, you can choose to have the numbering restart for each chapter and have the chapter number included in the caption numbering system.

First select the Caption in your Word document. Then you need to link the Style (e.g. Heading 1) with a multi-level list at Home > Paragraph > Multi-Level List > Define Multi-Level List > More. This adds automatic numbering to each style so the captions have a number to show. See following image;

Word Capture 6

Chapter Starts with Style: Select what level of heading you would like to signify a new chapter.

Use Separator:  Choose the separator that you would like to use between the chapter number and the caption number (hyphen, period, colon or em-dash).

Change Your Caption Settings

Changing the caption settings isn’t obvious because right-clicking doesn’t show an option to open the Caption dialog.

The trick is to select the whole caption then References > Captions > Insert Caption. Refer to below image:

Word Caption 7

This opens the Caption dialog with the current settings.

Updating Your Caption Numbering

At the core of captions are field codes. Updating the caption numbering is the same as any other field code updates.

Select the whole document with Ctrl+A then update fields with F9 (or right-click to choose Update Field).

Change Your Caption Text

The text after the caption label can be edited in the document. Just click in the caption text and type as usual. See following image;

Word Caption 8

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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