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: Condensing Figure Caption References.

Condensing Figure Caption References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2015)


Chris wrote about problems having Word correctly refer to ranges of captions in his reports. For instance, referencing "Figures 1 to 6" instead of "Figure 1 to Figure 6," as is easily accomplished through the use of cross references. It seems that such proper wording is possible, if the following steps are followed:

  1. Position your insertion point where you want the range reference to occur.
  2. Type the words 'Referenced in Figures ' (don't forget the trailing space).
  3. Insert a cross-reference to the first figure in the range, making sure the "Only label and number" option is selected.
  4. Type the word 'to' followed by a cross-reference to the last figure in the range. (Again, make sure the "Only label and number" option is selected.) Your document will look something like this:
Referenced in Figures Figure 1 to Figure 6
  • Select the 'Figure 1' field and press Ctrl+F9. Word creates a new field with the 'Figure 1' REF field inside it, as follows:
  • Referenced in Figures { Figure 1 } to Figure 6
    1. Inside the new field, to the left of the 'Figure 1' embedded field, type 'QUOTE ' (make sure you include the space).
    2. Inside your new field code, insert ' \* "Arabic" ' between the embedded 'Figure 1' field and before the closing brace. Again, note the spaces.
    3. Repeat steps 5 to 7 for the other cross-reference.
    4. If you press Alt+F9 to show field codes, your document should look something like this:
    Referenced in Figures { QUOTE {REF _Ref111111 \h } \* "Arabic" } to { QUOTE {REF _Ref22222 \h } \* "Arabic" }
  • Press Alt+F9 to switch back to viewing field results, then select the two new fields and press F9 to update them. The result should be something like this:
  • Referenced in Figures 1 to 6

    The trick is to use the QUOTE field along with the \* "Arabic" formatting switch. The QUOTE field de-references the REF field, making it seem as if it were simple text. The Arabic format tells Word to display the text in Arabic numerals. Serendipitously, Word ignores non-numeric characters when it applies the Arabic switch.

    WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9802) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Condensing Figure Caption References.

    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. ...


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    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 1 + 8?

    2017-05-31 12:08:15


    I have captioned all of my figures and tables with the heading and sub-heading options, i.e Table 4.1-1 and Table 4.1-2. If I use the method described above, then the result comes out as "Tables 5 and 6" instead of the desired "Tables 4.1-1 and 4.1-2". I assume that using the dash and decimal is denoting math somehow, is there a way around this?

    2015-12-03 08:39:28


    Does not work for me in Word 2013 (OS: Windows 8.1 in English).

    After hiding the field codes, both references are blank.

    My code looks like this:

    Figures { QUOTE { REF_Ref436916370 h} * "Arabic"} and { QUOTE { REF _Ref436916371 h} * "Arabic"} show the histogram ...

    But it looks like:

    Figures and show the histogram ...

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