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: Changing Caption Numbering Styles.

Changing Caption Numbering Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 15, 2014)


If you use the captioning feature of Word, you can automatically number all your captions. For instance, all your tables and figures could be numbered using consecutive numbers. In addition, Word allows you to specify how you want the numbers to appear in the caption. To change numbering styles for your captions, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Caption dialog box. (Choose Insert | Caption, Insert | Reference | Caption, or References | Insert Caption, depending on your version of Word.) (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Caption dialog box.

  3. Click on the Numbering button. Word displays the Caption Numbering dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Caption Numbering dialog box.

  5. Using the Format drop-down list, choose the format you want used for your caption numbers.
  6. Click on OK to close the Caption Numbering dialog box.
  7. Click on OK to insert your caption.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (624) 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: Changing Caption Numbering Styles.

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. ...


DOS from Macros

Need to run a DOS command from within one of your macros? The answer is the Shell command, described in this tip.

Discover More

Creating a Log/Log Chart

If you need to create a chart that uses logarithmic values on both axes, it can be confusing how to get what you want. ...

Discover More

Understanding Variables in VBA Macros

You can create and use all sorts of variables in your macros. This tip examines all the different data types you can specify.

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing Existing Captions

Word allows you to automatically create captions for various elements of your document, such as figures and tables. These ...

Discover More

Adding Caption Labels

When using the captioning capabilities of Word, you aren't limited to the three default caption labels provided in the ...

Discover More

Automatic Periods after a Caption

Word can automatically add captions to certain elements of your documents, such as figures or tables. You can control ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 8?

2017-02-10 06:32:24


Hi Erika,

Unless I'm missing something, the logical way, surely, is to use Find and Replace. Inputting Fig. in Find and Figure in Replace and then selecting Replace all should achieve the desired result.

2017-02-10 03:09:22


In my thesis there are 77 figures that read as "Fig. x" under each figure. I would like to change all figure captions to read "Figure x" (instead of Fig.).
How can I make this universal change throughout the document?

2014-08-27 16:03:50


Any suggestions on how to create a figure title with the number in brackets as show below?

Figure [3]: High Level

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.