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Moving Captions with Pictures

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Moving Captions with Pictures.

Pet uses pictures and associated captions in his Word documents. The problem he is having is when he wants to move the picture the caption stays behind. Pete wonders how he can move a picture and caption at the same time.

How you should format your pictures and captions depends, largely, on how you are inserting your pictures and how you are positioning your captions. Are your pictures inserted inline or with text wrapping? Are your captions before or after your pictures? These are important questions.

Let's assume for a moment that you are inserting your pictures inline, instead of activating text wrapping. In this case, it doesn't matter if your captions are before or after your picture. All you need to do is make sure that you define a style for the paragraph in which the picture is inserted and make sure that you adjust the style for the caption's paragraph. If your caption is before your picture's paragraph, make sure that it is formatted to "keep with next." That way Word will always make sure that the caption and picture are on the same page. The same applies if the caption follows the picture; just make sure that the paragraph style you set up for your picture paragraph is formatted for "keep with next."

If your pictures have text wrapping turned on, things get a bit trickier. It generally doesn't work to have text wrapping on and your caption in the body of your document. In those cases it is essentially impossible to pair the two, and you will always be struggling with the caption (itself) wrapping around the picture.

Instead, insert a text box or a table, and use this device to help keep your figure and caption together. If using a text box, you can place the image within the text box with the caption either before or after the image, but also within the text box. If you choose to use a table, then you can use a two-cell table—one for the picture and the other for the caption. It is easy to then wrap the body text around the containing text box or table, and the two will always stay together.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9381) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Moving Captions with Pictures.

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Comments for this tip:

RK     18 Jul 2016, 13:05
On Ken's last point, I'm using a textboxes to float my rather large tables. I also lost automatic numbering on my captions but I've just realised word picks up the numbering again if you maintain the caption numbering of the table within the textbox. Maybe the same idea could work for canvases.
Ken Endacott    25 Jun 2016, 07:20
If the image is floating (not an in line picture) then place the caption in a border less textbox and either group the image and textbox or place them both in a canvas. The group or canvas can then be given the desired wrapping style.
The group or canvas can be moved and both the image and caption will stay in the same relationship.
The disadvantage of this method is that automatic numbering of captions does not work.
c    24 Jun 2016, 13:21
if you put the picture together in a text but it will not print you see it on screen but it blanks out on paper so this no longer works. any ideas on how to keep the pic and caption together if you are text wrapping? word 2010 will not let you group a pic with a text box

looks like tables it is but it is just not as clean and harder to float
Ted Duke    19 Apr 2016, 21:24
I cannot explain why I did not see or hunt for this tip quite some time ago. The Text Box works quite nicely and can contain both image and caption, if it is sized larger than needed, then adjusted. I will also try the two-cell table option some time. I've only used a picture+text box once, so far, but I have more than a dozen documents in which I had struggled to achieve keeping photo and caption in place. Thanks for the tip.
Shailaja    08 Nov 2015, 22:46

I am using Word 2007 for my PhD thesis. I have 250 pages of text and nearly 50 pages of full page figures.

Suppose full figure page (no text, except caption) is to be on page 5. I would like to know how to format in such a situation so that text from Page 4 continues on to page 6 without displacing the figure from page 5, or changing its page number.

I can't even imagine having to do all this manually. I'm sure there must be a solution. Do help.
Word 2013 user    30 Oct 2015, 11:45
I am surprised to see that when I generate a caption as part of a picture (right click, Insert Caption), that even that does not stay with the picture if I change layout options to anything other than Inline. What up?
Paul Stregevsky (formerly Maryland, USA)    29 Jun 2015, 09:11
"If you choose to use a table, then you can use a two-cell table—one for the picture and the other for the caption. It is easy to then wrap the body text around the containing text box or table, and the two will always stay together."

This works only if the two cells are side-by-side: 1 row, 2 columns. If your table is 2 rows, 1 column, the table can break between rows. Some Wordsmiths anchor the image in Row 1, using a "keep with next" style. But that won't work if your company, like mine, places the caption below a picture but above a table. So for tables and figures alike, I make the top row a header row. Yes, I'm saying that the figure lives in a header row.
Ken Endacott    28 Jun 2015, 05:33
It sounds as though your pictures are a mixture of in-line pictures and floating (anchored). One (or more) of the pictures is in-line and when you move it is pushing the other pictures out of its way.

Right click on each picture and select Wrap Text then More Layout Options. In the Text Wrapping tab you will see highlighted the current Wrapping style.

What it doesn't tell you is that there are two different types of layout: In-line and all the others.

Make sure that all the pictures are anchored and have Tight wrapping. Then you can drag them without changing others provided that they don't overlap. You can also put text around the pictures but be aware that adding paragraphs above the anchor paragraph will push down the shapes below.
lea    28 Jun 2015, 01:31
hi help :)
i am using word 2010 - want to put many small images in rows (touching the pic before and after, above and under - i am so mad - i did it perfect for maybe ten rows and now one pic keeps jumping all over or rather makes all the other pics get out of the order i put them in - i read about anchors and dont really get it but the anchor for a lot of pics is one certain pic and when i try to put something next to the anchor pic is when trouble comes - this is making me so mad - i just want the pics to sit where i put them - i did square formatting on all pics and they are all 1.5 inches tall - please help me. There is NO TEXT on the document at all - just images/pics

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