A lot of people I’ve worked with haven’t been familiar with how to create a Table of Contents in Word. Even in academia, where it’s effectively a requisite! Even if you don’t produce a Table of Contents, this workflow is still helpful for automatically incrementing and organizing figures, equations, and tables. Captions are the key concept to grasp. When you establish a caption, what you’re essentially doing is creating an “anchor” reference point that can be cited anywhere in the text. The best part is, if you need to reorder your figures/equations/tables, Word will manage everything on its own and your captions (and references) will be automatically reordered!
- Insert Caption
- After the Caption box opens, select the type of label you’re dealing with. In this case, it’s a figure.
- Click OK to insert the caption
- Add a descriptive title to the figure
- Begin typing your regular paragraph text until you get to the point that you’d like to enter a reference to the caption
- Click Cross-reference
- Choose the reference type that corresponds to the type of caption you inserted during step 2
Optional: select a “Only label and number” under the “Insert reference to” drop down to avoid referencing the descriptive title written during step 4
- Insert the cross-reference
- Admire your handiwork!