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: Formatting Captions.

Formatting Captions

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 16, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word includes a captioning feature that allows you to manually or automatically add captions in your document. These captions are typically placed with tables or other objects (such as figures) to identify them. For instance, you might have a caption such as "Figure 2" that appears below a figure.

When you use the captioning feature, Word automatically formats the caption using the Caption style. By default, the Caption style uses the same typeface as your Normal style, except it is bold. If you want to use a different set of attributes for your captions, all you need to do is change the Caption style. Follow these steps if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:

  1. Choose the Style option from the Format menu. Word displays the Style dialog box.
  2. In the list of Styles, choose the Caption style.
  3. Click on Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box.
  4. Click on Format and choose the portion of the style you want to change. The options available through the Format button utilize dialog boxes with which you are already familiar.
  5. Click on OK to save your modifications.
  6. Click on Close to dismiss the Style dialog box.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, you should instead follow these steps:

  1. Select Styles and Formatting from the Format menu. Word displays the Styles and Formatting task pane.
  2. In the task pane, scroll through the list of styles until you see the Caption style.
  3. Move the mouse pointer over the style name and then click on the down-arrow at the right side of the style name.
  4. Click on Modify. The Modify Style dialog box appears. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

  6. Click on Format and choose the portion of the style you want to change. The options available through the Format button utilize dialog boxes with which you are already familiar.
  7. Click on OK to save your modifications.
  8. Close the Styles and Formatting task pane.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (623) 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: Formatting Captions.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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