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Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables.

Chris has a document with tables. She wants two TOCs, one for the document and one for the tables. The tables are labeled 1, 2, 3, etc., but then she added some tables like 16A, 16B, and 17A. When Chris updates the TOC for the tables, Word changes her table numbers, such as changing 16B to 17 and 17A to 18. Chris wonders if there is a way to override Word so the TOC will list the tables with the letters after the number.

If you are using Word's automatic number, it is intended to sequentially number items, pure and simple. Word would have no way of knowing where "deviations" should occur, such as with tables 16A, 16B, and 17A. While you can try to make the changes in the document itself, the moment Word updates the numbering your alterations will be "renumbered" to again be sequential.

Your best bet is to number the tables manually, using whatever style you want for the table caption that contains the number. For instance, you might use a paragraph style called MyTables for the captions. You can then create a TOC for your tables that gathers only the paragraphs formatted using the MyTables style. (How to create a TOC that references a particular style is covered in this tip.) The individual table numbers, since they are manual, could appear using any type of numbering you desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6999) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables.

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