How to Add Captions to Figures and Tables in Microsoft Word

843769 How to Add Captions to Figures and Tables in Microsoft Word

Adding captions to figures, images, charts, tables, and other visual elements in your Microsoft Word document can greatly enhance clarity and readability. Captions help readers understand the context and significance of visual content at a glance.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for adding captions in Word. We’ll cover:

  • Enabling the References tab
  • Inserting captions
  • Customizing caption labels, numbering formats, and positions
  • Creating a list of figures or tables

Follow these simple steps to effectively caption visual elements in your Word documents.

Enable the References Tab

Before adding captions, you need to enable the References tab in the Word ribbon:

  1. Click the “File” tab on the ribbon
  2. Select “Options”
  3. Click “Customize Ribbon” on the left
  4. Check the box next to “References” under “Main Tabs”
  5. Click “OK”

The References tab will now be visible in the ribbon. This is where you access the captioning tools.

Insert a Caption

To insert a caption for an image, chart, table, or other visual element:

  1. Click the visual element to select it
  2. Click the “References” tab
  3. Click “Insert Caption” in the Captions group
  4. Select the appropriate label from the “Label” drop-down (Figure, Equation, etc.)
  5. Enter your desired caption text
  6. Click “OK”

The caption will be inserted immediately under the visual element, preceded by the label and number. The position and formatting are automatically applied using the Caption style.

You can insert captions for multiple images and tables in just a few clicks!

Customize the Caption

To customize the appearance, label, numbering format, or position of your Word captions:

  1. Right-click the caption
  2. Select “Edit Caption”
  3. Make changes to the Label, Position, or Numbering options
  4. Click “OK”

For example, you may want to:

  • Change “Figure” to “Image” or “Diagram”
  • Switch to alphabetical numbering instead of numerical
  • Display captions above tables instead of below

Customizing captions takes just a moment and can greatly improve clarity!

Create a Table of Figures

For long Word documents with many captioned visual elements, generate an automatic list or “table” of figures, tables, or equations for easy reference:

  1. Place cursor where you want the list to appear
  2. Click the “References” tab
  3. Select “Insert Table of Figures” in the Captions group
  4. Choose what elements to include from the options
  5. Click “OK”

Word will compile the list based on the captions you’ve already inserted, including the label, number, and caption text for each.

Keep your readers on-track by providing an overview list of all captioned visual content!


Adding well-formatted captions and lists of figures or tables is an excellent way to maximize clarity and organization in your Microsoft Word documents.

By following the simple steps in this guide, you can effectively:

  • Insert captions for images, charts, tables, and other visuals
  • Customize the label, numbering, position, and overall formatting
  • Automatically generate overview lists of all captioned content

Captioning visual elements takes just minutes but pays dividends by keeping readers oriented. Give your Word documents an extra layer of polish with elegant captions and lists!

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