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Microsoft Word/MS Word: Table of figure for user-defined caption label


QUESTION: Hi - hoping you can help... I've been struggling to find a strategy for a while now.  Here is my problem:
The documents I work with use multilevel lists associated with Headings.  For example 1 Heading1; 1.1: Heading 2; 1.1.1: Heading 3; etc.  This is standard - no issue with that.
However, in our work templates, a table inserted under heading 1 should include the chapter number of  Heading 1 (ex. Table 1-1: xxx), tables inserted under heading 2, include the chapter number of Heading 2 (ex. Table 1.1: xxx), a table directly under Heading 3 (ex. Table 1.1.1: xxx) etc.  
The problem is that when one changes the Heading numbering for the Table in the Insert Caption dialog box, this change is applied to ALL tables through the document...
As a solution, I decided to create my own caption labels: For Heading 1: no change, I just use Table; for Heading 2: I created Table_L2; for Heading 3: Table_L3... That way, I can associate different Heading numbering to each.  However, now I have issues when creating the table of Tables (and the table of Figures, for which I use the same strategy)...
Am I using the right approach?  Is this the right strategy?  I would have imagined that this document format would be quite common so I suspect there is a better way to number captions so that the numbering reflects the preceding heading number; and then be able to create a table of table that includes tables from all heading levels.
Hope you can help!  Thank you for all your useful posts.

ANSWER: As you have realized, each caption label (Table, Figure, Equation, or a custom label) that has the "Include chapter number" feature enabled can use only one heading level as the "chapter number." Usually it is best to use the actual chapter number. So if Heading 1 is being used as the chapter number, then all the tables in Chapter 1 would be Table 1-1, Table 1-2, etc. The numbers would restart in Chapter 2: Table 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, etc. Any further granularity generally serves no purpose and just makes the table numbering more confusing. Even if Chapter 1 had 100 tables, wouldn't it be easier to find Table 1-50 between 1-49 and 1-51 than to have to locate a heading numbered 1.4.2, say, to find Table 1.4.2-2?

If there is an absolute requirement to use this kind of table numbering, then you can use custom StyleRef fields, but I would strongly advise just using the simple numbering that Word provides.

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QUESTION: Thanks so much for your rapid response!  I agree - using the chapter number would be the best - but for now, I'm stuk with the requirement.  I have never used StyleRef fields... I'll read up on them.  Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


If you look at the field code behind a caption label, you'll see this for a table caption using Heading 1 for the "chapter number":

Table { STYLEREF 1 \s }-{ SEQ Table \* ARABIC \s 1 }

This produces Table 1-1. If you change the 1 in the first field to 2, you'll get Table 1.1, but the caption will continue the numbering from the first level, so you'll get Table 1-1, Table 1.1-2, etc. Moreover, every time you add a new caption, the STYLEREF field gets set back to 1. So basically you can't use the Insert Caption feature for these (at least not except for the top level).

The \s switch is an undocumented switch in the STYLEREF field; the switch that is normally used to reference a paragraph number is \n, which is what you'd have to use for the custom STYLEREF fields. And you'd have to create new sequences for the table numbers (say, SEQ Table2, SEQ Table3, etc.), and you'd have to manually restart the numbering after each new heading.

So what it comes down to is that you have to build custom STYLEREF fields for the heading numbers and custom SEQ fields for the table numbers, so in the end it may be easier just to type the numbers by hand. Of course, you'll also have to manually bookmark them if you want to cross-reference them. It really is an unsatisfactory system.
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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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