Microsoft Word’s Tables of Figures

You can have separate lists or tables of the figures, pictures, or tables in your Word document, similar to a table of contents. The default is a table of figures. But MS-Word can only generate a table of figures if you have previously inserted MS-Word’s captions to mark the figures. Click here to find out how to handle captions. This blog post tells you how to insert a table of figures and how to update it.

Inserting a Table of Figures

Put your cursor where you want your table of figures to be.

  1. Go to the References tab, run your eye along the bottom of the ribbon to the Captions block, and click the Insert Table of Figures button. (Note: If your Word document is not maximized, the Insert Table of Figures option might not be visible. Some minimized views show only the Insert Table of Figures icon.)
  2. The Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  3. You can change the font and paragraph format by unticking the boxes on the face of the dialog box – but you do not usually need to untick any of them.
  4. The Options… button. If you did not use the caption style for your figure captions, you can tell Word what style you did use by clicking on the Options… button.  The Table of Figures Options dialog box pops up.
  5. The Modify… button. Word uses the Table of Figures style for the entries in your list of figures. You can change the styles format by clicking on the Modify… button. The Style dialog box pops up, and asks you to select the appropriate style for your index or table entry. It has another Modify… button and, if you click on it, the usual Modify Style dialog box pops up.
  6. Make the changes you want. I advise setting a left tab of about 2,5 cm.
  7. Click the OK button or press the Enter key as many times as necessary to get out of the dialog boxes.

Word then searches the document for your captions and automatically adds a list of figures, sorted by figure number and page number.

Updating a table of figures

If you add, delete, change, or move captions, you need to update the table of figures to reflect your changes:

  1. Click in the table of figures in your document. The entire table will be highlighted.
  2. Press F9 or click References > Update Table. (Note: Update Table only becomes an option when you have your cursor in the table of figures.)
  3. The Update Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  4. Select Update page numbers if you need to adjust the page numbers.
  5. Select Update entire table if you have moved figures or altered captions.
  6. Click the OK button or press the Enter key.

Tip: Do not try to type changes in the table of figures. Make changes to the captions and then put your cursor in the table of figures and press F9 to make them reflect there.