Above is a picture of a figure that might appear in a Microsoft Word document, where a figure caption has been added. If you want to easily create captions for your figures and tables, this article should show exactly how.
By convention captions for tables usually go above the table they refer to and, by contrast, captions for figures usually go below the figures. You don’t have to follow this but it is the most common usage.
Typically captions will be sequentially numbered. So you’ll have Figure 1, then Figure 2 and Figure 3. You’ll want to do the same with tables, so Table 1 followed by Table 2 and so on. But if you have a long document you might want to restart in each chapter, so you might wan the first figure in chapter 3 to be Figure 3.1. And of course, you’ll want to be able to build a complete list of tables and figures at the front of your document just like a table of contents, but specifically for tables and figures.
Then there are some rather more advanced topics like having a different list, not figures or tables but maybe something like maps instead.
The key to getting your captions to work the way you want them to and to being able to style them correctly is to use paragraph styles. Most of the clever stuff in Word only works because of styles, so it’s really worth understanding properly how they work.
And because using paragraph styles is so vital to making this work, here are some great resources to understanding how they work.
Styles by Shauna Kelly is a good overview from someone with heaps of Word experience
HowToGeek Document Formatting Essentials provides a really good set of online lessons