WD: How to Modify the Start Number for Caption Numbering

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Article ID: 145508 - View products that this article applies to.
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In a new Word document, caption numbering always starts at 1. In an existing Word document with captions, a new caption always starts from the last caption inserted. There is no option to start caption numbering at another number and have it continue sequentially from there.


To modify the start number for caption numbering, use the following steps to insert a restart in the field:

  1. Place your insertion point where you want the caption numbering to appear for the first caption.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Caption. Click OK.

    A caption is inserted into the document (for example, Figure 1).
  3. Repeat this process as many times as necessary for your captions.
  4. Place the insertion point at the location in the document where you want caption numbering to be restarted.
  5. Select the number in the caption. On the Insert menu, choose Field.
  6. In the Field Names column, select "Seq."
  7. In the Field Codes box, after "SEQ," type Figure.
  8. Click the Options button. Choose the Field Specific Switches tab. Select the \r switch, and click Add To Field. Type the number desired to restart the caption numbering after the \r. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  9. On the File menu, click Print Preview. Then, choose Close from the Print Preview screen.
This will refresh your document and update all of the Caption fields in your document. The figure is now labeled with the new Figure number and the subsequent figures will be labeled sequentially from there.


Microsoft Word allows for the addition of captions to figures, tables, equations, and other items by using the caption command from the Insert menu. Word inserts a label and a number. Word uses a sequence field to insert the figure number as illustrated in the following example:
Figure { SEQ Figure \* ARABIC }
NOTE: This field can be viewed by selecting the caption and using the keys SHIFT+F9.

The sequence field has an optional restart switch that can be added to the field to restart the sequence numbering at a specific number. This switch is not added to the field by default and is not an option when using the Caption feature from the Insert menu.

By using the sequence field procedure above, the option for the \r switch is added to the sequence field. The resulting field code for the caption numbering is as follows
Figure { SEQ Figure \r n \* ARABIC }
where n is the desired number that the caption is to restart at.

NOTE: This field can be viewed by selecting the caption and using the keys SHIFT+F9.


For more information about the sequence field used to create Captions, double-click the Help button on the Standard toolbar. Type the field name SEQ and click the Display button.

For additional information using chapter numbering with captions, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
126081 Reset Switch in Caption Doesn't Work with Chapter Numbers


Article ID: 145508 - Last Review: August 17, 2005 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Word 6.01 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 6.0a
  • Microsoft Word 6.0c
  • Microsoft Word 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 95a
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Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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