Skip to Main Content

Course & Subject Guides

Electronic Theses and Dissertations Support Guide

Advanced Caption Numbering Solutions

Altering the Caption Sequence Numbers

There may be some instances where you want to alter the caption sequence numbers, such as when you want to create sequences such as Figure 2a and Figure 2b for closely related figures. To alter a caption, you need to:

  • right-click (Ctrl+click on a Mac) on the sequence number in the caption
  • This will bring up the Field options menu

Caption Sequence Number

  • With SEQ selected in the Field Name, click the Options button
  • Select the Field Specific Switches tab at the top
  • Then select the particular switch that suits you action
    • \c Inserts the nearest preceding sequence number
    • \r Resets the sequence number to the number following the 'r'
    • \s Resets the sequence number at the heading level following the 's"

It's important to note that due to how the Appendix headings are created, you can't easily use the \s command to reset to Appendix A. For those instances, you will need to use the \r command for each caption that requires this reset. 


Adding Custom Label Prefixes

When adding captions, it's important to understand that there are parts of the caption and caption label that you can and can't edit. When you use the Insert Caption function, a sequential label number is inserted. You can identify that by highlighting the number in the caption and noticing that it will be shaded slightly darker than the rest of the highlight. This is the portion of the caption that must remain unedited. If you add any captions, with the same label, before or after this inserted caption; Word will adjust the numbering to stay within sequence. However, you may need to right-click (Ctrl+click on a Mac) to update that field, much like you do for the Table of Contents and List of Figures/Tables.

You are able to add text before or after this caption number and it will be shown in the List of Figures/Tables, when they are updated. You must remember to be consistent in how you are adding repeated characters. An example of this is most commonly found in the Appendices, as you can add such customizations as Figure 1 to become Appendix Figure 1 or Figure A1. (The bold characters are added after the caption insertion.)


Using Chapter Numbers in the Captions

It's possible to use the Heading 1 chapter numbers as part of the caption numbering. To do so:

  • When you are in the Caption creation box after using the Insert Caption command, select the Numbering button
  • Use the Format menu to select the number format
  • Check the Include chapter number to insert the Heading 1 level number in your caption
  • Choose the separator that you would like to use
    • Be sure to use the same separator for both figures and tables
  • Hit Ok and finish creating your caption

It should be noted that you won't be able to use this method for Appendix captions, as the Appendix style is not considered a heading by Word. Please use one of the above methods for creating custom caption labels.