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: Adding Captions.

Adding Captions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 26, 2017)

Captions are normally included as a design element of a document. For instance, your design may dictate that every table needs to include a caption that identifies the table. There are two ways you can add a caption in your document. The first is to create your own, and the second is have Word add the caption for you.

If you want to add your own caption, simply start a new paragraph and type the caption. Then make sure that the paragraph is formatted with the Caption style.

If you want to instruct Word to add the caption, follow these steps:

  1. Select the object that you want captioned (such as a figure or table) or position the insertion point where you want the caption located.
  2. Choose Caption from the Insert menu. (In some versions of Word you will need to select Reference from the Insert menu and then choose Caption.) Word displays the Caption dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Caption dialog box.

  4. Using the Label drop-down list, specify the word you want to appear at the beginning of the caption.
  5. If you selected an object in step 1, use the Position drop-down list to specify where you want the caption to appear in relation to the object.
  6. In the Caption box, specify any additional wording you want in your caption.
  7. Click on OK.

Since there are multiple steps to insert a caption in this fashion, you may wonder why anyone would use Word to add the caption. There are a couple of reasons. First of all, when Word inserts the caption there is a certain amount of uniformity that is used. You can specify the same label to appear at the beginning of each of your captions. Second, the number that is added to the caption is created as a sequence field. This means that even if you later move the caption, the numbering of the caption will be automatically updated and corrected by Word. Finally, if you aren't comfortable working with styles, using Word to add the caption precludes you from the necessity of assigning styles.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (890) 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: Adding 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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