Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Adding Captions.

Adding Captions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 10, 2016)

5

Captions are normally included as a design element of a document. For instance, your design may dictate that every table needs to include a caption that identifies the table. There are two ways you can add a caption in your document. The first is to create your own, and the second is to have Word add the caption for you.

If you want to add your own caption, simply start a new paragraph and type the caption. Then make sure that the paragraph is formatted with the Caption style.

If you want to instruct Word to add the caption, follow these steps:

  1. Select the object that you want captioned (such as a figure or table), or position the insertion point where you want the caption located.
  2. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Insert Caption tool in the Captions group. Word displays the Caption dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Caption dialog box.

  5. Using the Label drop-down list, specify the word you want to appear at the beginning of the caption.
  6. If you selected an object in step 1, use the Position drop-down list to specify where you want the caption to appear in relation to the object.
  7. In the Caption box, specify any additional wording you want in your caption.
  8. Click on OK.

Since there are multiple steps to insert a caption in this fashion, you may wonder why anyone would use Word to add the caption. There are a couple of reasons. First of all, when Word inserts the caption there is a certain amount of uniformity that is used. You can specify the same label to appear at the beginning of each of your captions. Second, the number that is added to the caption is created as a sequence field. This means that even if you later move the caption, the numbering of the caption will be automatically updated and corrected by Word. Finally, if you aren't comfortable working with styles, using Word to add the caption precludes you from the necessity of assigning styles.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6267) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Captions.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Keeping Part of a Paragraph with the Next Block of Text

If you are a WordPerfect user, you may be very familiar with the block-protect feature and wonder if there is a similar ...

Discover More

Turning Off Background Repagination

When you use Word, it normally performs several tasks in the background, while you are typing. One of those tasks is to ...

Discover More

Maintaining Formatting when Refreshing PivotTables

When you refresh the data in a PivotTable, Excel can play havoc with whatever formatting you applied. Here's how to ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing Caption Numbering Styles

Using Word's captioning feature can be a great boon for automatically numbering certain elements in your documents. It ...

Discover More

Deleting Caption Labels

Define a custom label to be used for captions, and you may later want to delete that label. Here's how you can easily ...

Discover More

Automatic Periods after a Caption

Word can automatically add captions to certain elements of your documents, such as figures or tables. You can control ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 1?

2017-11-09 13:21:18

prince

this is very enlightening and wonderful. Very helpful during my assignments and projects submission.


2016-09-12 10:33:07

Lisa

Yet another reason to use Word's caption function is that when you generate a list of tables/list of figures in the table of contents, the captions will be added. When you update the TOC, they will automatically update.


2016-09-12 08:44:50

Marion T.

Another reason to use Word's "Insert Caption" method, is that you can later add a cross-reference to the caption. The cross reference will update if the caption changes, and you "update fields".


2016-09-12 05:10:04

Ken Endacott

After changes to the order of captions you need to update fields to correct the numbering. CTRL + A to select all then click the function key F9


2016-09-11 23:28:26

Roger

Hi
Love the Newsletter. With reference to the Adding Caption article whilst it says "you later move the caption, the numbering of the caption will be automatically updated and corrected by Word" this, I have found, is not strictly correct.
If one stores a picture/caption between say Fig 1 and 2 the number will appear as Fig 3 and, I have found, there is no way of getting it renumbered except by deleting 3, putting in the new 2 and then reinserting the deleted 3.
Is that you experience.
Keep up the good work.
Roger


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.