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You can add captions to figures, equations, or other objects. A caption is a numbered label, such as "Figure 1", that you can add to a figure, a table, an equation, or another object. It's comprised of customizable text ("Figure", "Table", "Equation" or something else that you type) followed by an ordered number or letter ("1, 2, 3..." or "a, b, c..." typically) which can be optionally followed by some additional, descriptive, text if you like.

A caption with a label and a number

1. Text that you select or create.

2. Number that Word inserts for you

If you later add, delete, or move captions, you can easily update the caption numbers all at once.

You can also use the set of captions to create a table of the captioned items. Examples of this include a table of equations or a table of figures.

What do you want to do?

Select any topic(s) below to learn more. 

Tip: If you want to be able to move the figure and caption as one object, or wrap text around the figure and caption, see the subsequent topic here, Add a caption to a floating object

  1. Select the object (table, equation, figure, or another object) that you want to add a caption to.

  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

    Office 14 Ribbon

  3. In the Label list, select the label that best describes the object, such as a figure or equation. If the list doesn't provide the label you want, click New Label, type the new label in the Label box, and then click OK.

    Use the caption dialog to set options for your figure, table or equation captions.
  4. Type any text, including punctuation, that you want to appear after the label.

    Type any optional custom text for your captions in the label field.
  5. Click OK.

Note:  Word inserts the sequential caption number as a field. If your caption looks similar to "Figure {SEQ Table \* ARABIC}", Word is displaying field codes instead of field results. To see the caption normally, press ALT+F9.

Word can add captions automatically as you insert tables, images, or other objects.

  1. Select the object (table, equation, figure, or another object) that you want to add a caption to.

  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

  3. On the Captions dialog box, click AutoCaption, and then select the check boxes for the items that you want Word to automatically add captions to. You can also choose which position to add captions to in the Position drop-down list.

If you want to be able to wrap text around the object and its caption, or you want to be able to move the object and the caption as one unit, you must first group the object and the caption together. 

  1. Insert your figure.

  2. Choose Layout Options and select one of the With Text Wrapping options.

    Important: Do this step before you insert your caption. If you've already inserted the caption, delete it, do this step, then re-add your caption.

    Click layout options to choose how text will flow around your inserted image.
  3. Add your caption using the steps listed in Add captions above.

  4. Select your caption then hold down the shift key and select your figure.

  5. Right click on either item then choose Group > Group.

    Group your image and caption together so they can be moved together.

Text should now flow around your figure and caption as expected, and the figure and caption will stay together if you move them somewhere else on the page or in the document.

Note: If you move your figure, you should update your caption numbers just to make sure your numbering is still in the correct order.

If you insert a new caption, Word automatically updates the caption numbers. However, if you delete or move a caption, you must manually start a caption update.

  1. Click anywhere in the document and press CTRL+A to select the entire document.

  2. Right-click, and then choose Update Field on the shortcut menu. All of the captions in the document will then become updated.

Tip: You can also update captions by selecting the entire document and then pressing F9.

Once you've added at least one caption to your document you should see a new style displayed on the style gallery called "Caption". To change the formatting of your captions throughout your document simply right-click that style on the gallery and choose Modify. You can set font size, color, type and other options that will apply to your captions.

Right-click the Caption style in the Styles gallery to modify the formatting of your captions.

For more information about modifying styles in Word see Customize styles in Word

To delete a caption select it and press Delete. When you're finished deleting captions, you should update the remaining set of captions in your document. Press CTRL+A to select all of the text in your document and then press F9 to update all. This will ensure that your caption numbers are correct after any caption removal.   

See also

Do you have a question about captions in Word that we didn't answer here?

Post a question in the Word Answers forum.

Help us improve Word

Do you have suggestions about how we can improve captions (or any other feature) of Word? If so, let us know by providing us feedback. See How do I give feedback on Microsoft Office? for more information.

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