Creating Usable Figure Captions

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 2, 2017)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


1

Ron wondered how to use figure captions with images inserted in a text box. The captions are inserted OK, but they are not available as cross-references or for inclusion in a Table of Figures.

This, unfortunately, is a shortcoming of Word when it comes to text boxes. The first problem (not being able to use the captions in cross-references) can be overcome with a bit of ingenuity. Simply bookmark the caption, then cross-reference the bookmark within text. This extra step can get to be a bother, however.

The best solution if you really need cross-references and Table of Figures inclusion is to not insert your figures in text boxes. Instead, insert them in old-fashioned frames. Frames have been fully described in other issues of WordTips. They are similar to text boxes, but there are some subtle-yet-important differences that can make them the option of choice, at times. One of those differences is that when you insert a figure and caption into a frame, the caption is available both for cross-referencing and for inclusion in a Table of Figures.

The reason for this difference is where Word tracks the different elements. A text box is considered part of the Drawing layer, not a part of the document itself. As such, text boxes are not referenced in some features of Word. Frames, on the other hand, are a part of the Document layer, and fully available to the required features.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1503) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the User Name in Existing Comments

Want to change the name that Word associates with various comments previously added to your document? Here are some ideas ...

Discover More

Specifying a Label Stock for Saved Documents

When you create a document designed to be printed on a particular type of label stock, it might be helpful if Word ...

Discover More

Printing an Extra Blank Envelope

You can easily use Word to print envelopes for your letters. What happens, however, if your printer insists on pushing ...

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)

Wrapping Text Around a Text Box or Frame

Text boxes and frames can be used for all sorts of information and objects in a document. You can wrap text around the ...

Discover More

Wrapping Text around a Graphic in a Text Box

Word allows you to wrap text around a graphic or around a text box, but it won't allow you to wrap text in a text box ...

Discover More

Finding an Invisible Text Box

Text boxes can be a great aid in designing the layout of your document. What do you do when you can't find a text box ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 minus 0?

2017-12-02 22:24:20

Steve Wells

On using a frame, from my style guide that I wrote for a company ten years ago:

Typically, the Figure label and its text are too long for an appealing layout, but you can place a manual line break with care before the tab character, otherwise it appears in the Table of Figures as a space character leading the figure text. To create and format the caption:
1. Select the graphic and on the Insert menu, click Reference → Caption.
2. Within the caption’s text box, insert a manual line break before the tab character.
3. Right-click the text box frame, and then click Format Text Box to open the Format Text Box dialog box.
4. If the text box has any border or fill color, click the Colors and Lines tab.
- a. Under Fill, set Color to No fill.
- b. Under Line, set Color to No line.
5. Click the Text Box tab, click Convert to Frame, and then click OK.
6. Right-click the frame, and then click Format Frame.
7. Set the Width to Exactly (not Auto) and At to some nominal size such as 2”.
8. Format the caption paragraph under Special as First line, and under By, enter a small indentation number such as 0.5”. Keep the caption paragraph aligned as Centered or the first line indentation will not produce pleasing results.
9. Adjust the frame size and first line indentation to visually center the figure label above its text (as a single line). If the frame cannot be resized narrow enough without wrapping the caption text, set a small explicit tab, such as 0.2” with Alignment of Left.
10. Reposition the frame and the graphic as necessary to keep them from extending beyond the margins or to align them with other inset graphics on the page.

This graphic shows an "in document" and printed sample.

(see Figure 1 below)


Figure 1. Using a frame to include in a figure table




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.

Videos
Subscribe

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.