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How to insert a figure caption in Word

When you have a lot of figures, images, objects, or tables in your Word document, you might want to name or number them. Numbering your objects is an excellent way to have a structured layout. You can manually number images, but it takes time and is inefficient. The easiest solution to insert a figure caption is by using the feature in Word. This feature automatically numbers your images in chronological order, and you can add a customized label. We will show you the steps to add a figure caption to any image in Word.

Insert figure caption in Word

If you have multiple tables in your Word document that you want to label, you can do it by inserting a caption. We will show you the steps to insert a caption.

  1. Select the table you want to add a caption
  2. Click on the References tab in the ribbon
  3. Click on Insert Caption
How to insert a figure caption in Microsoft Word

The Caption dialog box opens up in your Word document:

  • First, select a different label (optional)
    • Equation
    • Figure
    • Foto
    • Table > we choose this in our example
  • Then go above and type the text for the caption after the number (optional)
    • In our example, we typed – Europe
  • Select a position (optional)
    • Above selected item
    • Below selected item > we choose this in our example
  • Exclude label from caption
    • Select if you only want a number to appear in the beginning, without a label
  • Lastly, click OK
before and after insert caption label in Word

Now you can follow the same steps to add a caption to other tables in your Word document. See the below picture for the result of the table captions in Word. So, we added a different name for each label, and the caption numbering automatically updated the number in the correct order.

caption for tables in microsoft word

Create new label for caption

You can insert a caption for your image, but you may want to name it differently. If you don’t like the four default choices (equation, figure, photo, and table), you can customize one. In our example, we want to name the new label; Picture.

We will show you the steps to create a new label for a caption:

  • Go to References > Insert Caption to open the Caption dialog box.
  • Here you click on New Label
How to insert a figure caption in Word new label
  • Now, the New Label dialog box opens up
    1. Type the customized text (e.g., Picture)
    2. Click OK
Insert a new customized label caption

You will return to the Caption dialog box. Here you can see that the caption and label changed into the new customized label you typed. In our example, it says; Picture 1.

  • Now you can type the text for the caption
  • The last step is to click OK

Now the caption with the new customized label is inserted into your Word document. Word will save the new label in the Caption dialog box, so you can use it the next time you want to insert a caption.

Insert picture caption with new label in Word

How to add captions to floating images in Word

There is a difference between adding captions to images that are In Line With Text or With Text Wrapping. These are two different layout options.

The default layout is In Line With Text when you insert an image in Word. The image is considered a large character and will move with the text. If you want to move your picture everywhere in your Word document, you can change the layout to With Text Wrapping.

If you want the picture and caption to move together when you move the picture around, you must make sure to change the image layout to With Text Wrapping. Then you can group the image and caption to make the two stick together. Microsoft explains how to add, format, or delete captions in Word. Otherwise, you will get problems with the figure caption numbering.

Add a caption to an image With Text Wrapping in Word

First, you need to insert a picture into your Word document. Then we need to change the layout to With Text Wrapping if you haven’t done it. If you already added a caption to an image In Line With Text, you need to delete the caption and follow the steps below.

Change the image layout to With Text Wrapping:

  • Click on the image, picture, figure, or object in your Word document
  • Click on the blue icon
    • The Layout Options appear
  • Under With Text Wrapping > Choose one of the six layouts
    • In our example, we selected the first (square)

Your image’s layout has changed to With Text Wrapping. Then you can insert a caption following the steps we showed in the beginning. Select the image > go to References > Insert Caption.

Image with text wrapping

Group the caption and image in Word

If you have an image and add a caption to it in Word, they will not stick together. Every time you move the picture, you need to copy the caption as well to place it somewhere else in your Word document. The best solution to this is to group the image and caption. Remember that you can only group them if your image is With Text Wrapping.

Steps to group an image and caption together:

  1. Select both the image and caption
    • Click on your image
    • Press & hold the Shift key
    • Then click on the caption
  2. Right-click on the image or caption to see a selection
    • Choose Group
  3. Then select > Group

Now the image and caption will stay together when you move them somewhere else in your document.

Group image and caption in Word

Update caption numbering in Word

When inserting a new caption, the caption numbering will automatically change in the correct order. However, if you add or delete an image, you should update the captions manually by using a keyboard shortcut. We will show you two methods to update the caption numbering.

Method 1 – Update captions in Word:

  • Click anywhere in your document
  • Press Ctrl + A > to select the entire document
  • Right-click on the selected content
    • It opens a shortcut menu
  • Select Update Field

Method 2 – Shortcut to update captions:

  • Press Ctrl + A > to select entire text
  • Then press F9 > to update fields

The caption numbering should update in the correct order. If you face any problems, you will find the solution for figure caption numbering incorrect in Word.


Now you know how to insert a figure caption in Word by clicking on References > Insert Caption in the ribbon. You can customize a new label for each caption. It is easy to add captions to floating images With Text Wrapping in your Word document and group them later. Remember to update your caption by selecting the entire content (Ctrl + A) and pressing F9.

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