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How to: Create a list of figures with captions in Word

funny picture: gangster version of word

Create a list of figures with captions.

Written by Jon Berg <jon.berg|a|turtlemeat.com> April 18, 2005

Before you can create a list of figures, you must have some figures to make the list.


A caption is the reference to the picture. You can have Word create captions automatically every time you insert a picture.

To have Word automatically inserting captions:

Insert > Reference > Caption...
Then click Autocaption on the dialog that appeared. Here you can select what images that will create a caption.

To manually insert a caption:
Select the image you have inserted into your Word document and click Insert > Reference > Caption...
In Caption line you type the label for your image. Example "Figure 1.2 Screen Capture of ...".
You can of course turn off the "Figure" by unselecting "Exclude label from caption".

A word about structuring the document
It is important to do the structuring of the document correct with styling headers. Numbering Headers covers how to do that. When you insert a caption it will have the number on it according to what section it is under. Example Figures inserted under "1. Introduction", will be named "Figure 1.1".

Referencing to a figure in the text
You are likely to want to reference the figure in the text for example, "Figure 1.2 Screen Capture shows important stuff."
This is done by Insert > Reference > Cross-reference...
Select on of the captions you have created from the list in the dialog and click insert.

Creating the list of Figures

To create a list of select: Insert > Reference > Index and Tables...
Select the "Table of Figures" Tab. Here you can select the look of table you think looks the best. Click "OK".

Updating everything

To get all the things updated when you have added new things to your document, you can select everything (CTRL+A) then right click and select"Update Field". And click ok. (several dialogs may appear that you have to click ok on.) This will update all the lists of figures, and all references.


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