Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables.

Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 30, 2021)

1

Chris has a document with tables. She wants two TOCs, one for the document and one for the tables. The tables are labeled 1, 2, 3, etc., but then she added some tables like 16A, 16B, and 17A. When Chris updates the TOC for the tables, Word changes her table numbers, such as changing 16B to 17 and 17A to 18. Chris wonders if there is a way to override Word so the TOC will list the tables with the letters after the number.

If you are using Word's automatic number, it is intended to sequentially number items, pure and simple. Word would have no way of knowing where "deviations" should occur, such as with tables 16A, 16B, and 17A. While you can try to make the changes in the document itself, the moment Word updates the numbering your alterations will be "renumbered" to again be sequential.

Your best bet is to number the tables manually using whatever style you want for the table caption that contains the number. For instance, you might use a paragraph style called MyTables for the captions. You can then create a TOC for your tables that gathers only the paragraphs formatted using the MyTables style. The individual table numbers, since they are manual, could appear using any type of numbering you desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13372) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables.

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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What is 1 + 9?

2020-09-12 19:01:22

Matteo

In my Word 2016 document, I have sections defined with the Word-standard header levels (e.g. 1, 1.1, 1.1.1, 2, 2.1, 2.1.1, etc.).

I have tables and figures, and for the first section of my document, all my tables had been in the lowest-level heading (i.e., section 1.1.1 had table 1.1.1.1 and table 1.1.1.2, and so on.

Now I am in section 2.1, and I have a table there, which I want to be labeled table 2.1.1. However, I can't do this. If I change the caption numbering to "Chapter starts with style Heading 2", it renumbers all of the previous tables, which I don't want.

Eventually, I want section 2.1 to have a table numbered as 2.1.1, and I also want section 2.1.1 to have a table numbered as 2.1.1.1. How do I do this?

Here is a diagram of what I want:

1 Title
1.1 Subtitle
1.1.1 subtitle
Table 1.1.1.1
Table 1.1.1.2

etc.
...
...

2 Title
2.1 Subtitle
Table 2.1.1
Table 2.1.2

2.1.1 subtitle
Table 2.1.1.1
Table 2.1.1.2

Shouldn't this be default behavior? Instead, when I set it to "Chapter starts with style Heading 3", my table in Section 2.1 is numbered 1.2.6.1. I have no idea where it's getting this number from, especially since I already have a table with that number in the appropriate section above. I've spent hours on this. Any help would be so much appreciated!


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