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: Turning Off Figure Caption Numbering.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 13, 2021)
Bill wants to label the figures in his document with captions. He knows that Word can create figure captions, but it always seems to number them. Bill doesn't want to include a number; he just wants the caption that he specifies for the figure. So he wonders if there is a way to turn off the figure caption numbering.
Word, indeed, does not allow you to turn off caption numbering and still use the automatic captioning feature. You can, however, use the feature to add numbered captions and later edit each caption to remove the numbers.
This is probably more work than you want to do, however. A quicker way is to just add your own captions to each figure manually. Type the caption (you'd have to do that in the captioning feature anyway) and then use either the built-in Caption style or your own custom style to control how the caption looks. If you need a way to refer to the caption in your main text, you can then define a bookmark that encompasses the caption and reference that bookmark in the text.
One of the benefits of using the automatic captioning feature, of course, is that your captions can be gathered together by Word and placed in a table of figures. This can't be done quite as easily if you use your own manual captions. However, if you are careful to use a single style to format your captions, you can modify the way that Word pulls together the TOF to make sure that all paragraphs with that particular style are included. (How you do this has been covered in other WordTips.)
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8421) 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: Turning Off Figure Caption Numbering.
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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.