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Adding captions to pictures in Word 16

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At their most basic, captions are simply labels that describe the content of an image. As such, you can simply type a label beneath each image and leave it at that, or you can opt to not have captions at all. But if you are going to have captions, I’d strongly recommend using the ‘Insert Caption’ command found on the References tab.

If you use the ‘Insert Caption’ command, Word will automatically label and number each caption for you. Once all the captions have been entered, you have the option of getting Word to generate a Table of Figures like the example shown below:

When images are moved or deleted, Word not only updates the page numbering, it also updates the caption numbering.

How to use the ‘Insert Caption’ command

To begin, select the first image that requires a caption.

Next, check that the text wrapping of the image is not ‘In Line with Text’. If it is, change it to another option. [See Wrap Text options].

The next step is to open the References tab on the Ribbon and click the option to Insert Caption:

Word will now display the Caption popup:

Click inside the Caption box [after ‘Figure 1’], press the spacebar and type the description of the image.

Click OK to complete the caption. Word will automatically create a text box for the caption and insert it into the document, directly below the image to which it belongs.

How to change the label of the caption

If you do not want to use ‘Figure’ as the label for your caption, click the small down arrow next to the Label box:

The drop down list displays the three, pre-set labels: Equation, Figure and Table.

Note: you can also add your own labels to this list.

Click a Caption label to select it.

How to create a new Label for Captions

You can create your own label by clicking the button for New Label option on the Caption popup:

Type the new label into the ‘New Label’ popup and click OK. In the example shown above, the new label is ‘Photos’.

You can now select the new label from the ‘Labels’ list.

How to change the position of the caption

Captions can be placed above or below the image. With the Caption popup open, click the small arrow opposite ‘Position’:

Select either ‘Above selected item’ or ‘Below selected item’ from the list.

How to change the number format of a caption

With the Caption popup open, click Numbering… :

The Caption Numbering popup will open.

Click the small down arrow next to ‘Format:’ to display the list of available number formats.

Click the number format of your choice and click OK.

Type the caption and click OK to save and exit the Caption popup.

How to move the caption

Click the caption to select it. When the text box frame appears around the caption, hover the mouse over the frame until the mouse changes to a black, four-headed arrow as shown below:

Click-hold-and-drag the text box to a new location.

How to group the caption with its image

Until now,  the image and its caption have acted as two, separate objects, but it is possible to ‘lock’ them to each other via the ‘Group’ function. Grouping creates an outer ‘envelope’ around the two objects so they can be moved as one.

To group an image and its caption, first check that the text wrapping of the image is not ‘In Line with Text’.

Note: Grouping is only possible if the text wrapping of the image is not set to ‘In Line with Text’. 

The first step is to click the caption. A text box will appear around it.

Next, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard while you click the image.

Now, both the image and the caption will have ‘handles’ around them, but they are not yet grouped:

Next, right click either the image or the caption.

Note: right clicking causes a context sensitive menu to be displayed.

You should now see a menu with ‘Group’ as one of the options:

   

Click Group to display the Group sub-menu.

Now click Group on the sub-menu. The image and its caption will now remain locked to each other until you ungroup them.

How to ungroup two objects

To ungroup an image from its caption, right click the grouped object. Click Group on the context sensitive menu and Ungroup on the sub-menu.

How to move a grouped object

To move a grouped object, click on the image to display the outer frame and handles.

Note: if you click in the caption area, you will select the caption text box as well as the outer frame.

Next, point the mouse at the top of the outer frame until it changes to a black, four-headed arrow [as shown]:

Click-hold-and-drag the group to the required position.

The type of movement available to the grouped object will depend upon the text wrapping chosen for the image before it was grouped. For example, if ‘Square’ was chosen as the original text wrapping, the text will flow around the grouped object in a ‘box’ shape.

You can change the text wrapping of a grouped object in exactly the same way as for a single image [see How to work with images in Word 16, Part 1].

How to delete a grouped object

To delete the whole grouped object – i.e. the image and its caption – click the outer frame of the object to select it. Then press the Delete key on the keyboard.

In the next post, I’ll explain how to use these captions to create a Table of Figures.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


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