Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 11, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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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, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 six less than 9?

2022-06-11 07:55:47

Ken Endacott

This is how to modify automatic table numbering to give labels such as 16A, 16B, 16C etc. The method is to add the A, B, C to the caption text and restart the numbering back to 16 for each of the sub numbers. The result will display correctly in the List of Tables. The only catch is that if tables are subsequently added or deleted then the restarts will need to be changed.

1. Create table captions of all tables in the usual way with the Insert Caption button in the References ribbon. Initially they will all be numbered in sequence

2. ALT + F9 to display the fields. The caption and field will be of the form:
Table { SEQ Table \* ARABIC } Caption text

3. Change the caption and field at table 16A to:
Table { SEQ Table \* ARABIC }A Caption text
At the following table to be numbered 16B change the caption and field to:
Table { SEQ Table \* ARABIC \r 16 }B Caption text
And for table 16C change to:
Table { SEQ Table \* ARABIC \r 16 }C Caption text

4. IMPORTANT. Select the whole of the document and click F9 to update all fields

5. Alt + F9 to display field results


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