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How to create caption and insert a list of tables for your document in Microsoft Office Word 2007 - tips and examples

Updated on April 3, 2011

Introduction to creating a list of tables for your documents

Academic documents such as graduate thesis, dissertation, research reports, research proposals, etc. are characterized by the presence of many tables. Tables provide readers with lots of information about your data in a more easier way for them to read compared than presenting the data as texts. This is fundamental function of tables in academic documents.

In Word 2007 you can create your tables easily. You can then make a list of tables that you normally put in front for people to review all the tables you have in the document and in what pages they are. For this purpose, you need to name your tables with Caption facility provided by Word 2007.

Image 1: Caption box
Image 1: Caption box
Image 2: An Example of using Caption
Image 2: An Example of using Caption

How to caption your tables

You need to use caption for every table you create in your academic document. This will give a consistent look of table names and create a list of tables easily.

  1. Type in your table name which is in academic documents placed above the table;
  2. Under Reference menu, you can see Caption ribbon. Click Insert Caption to bring up the Caption box;
  3. In Label: box, select Table. If you are creating your document in non-English language you need to new label by clicking New Label, unless you have created it before and listed already in the Label: box. In the appearing box, type the new label and click OK; (Image 1)
  4. If you want to include chapter number to have a format like this: Table 1-1, then you need to click Numbering and select Include chapter number. There you can select also what seperator to use. To include, chapter number, however, in Caption you need to have your chapter formatted to use Heading style; (Image 1)
  5. Click OK and you have something like in Image 2.

Image 3: Modifying Caption
Image 3: Modifying Caption

Modifying Caption

You can modify the look of table names by modifying Caption attributes via Style panel. Don't edit the table names directly on your document.

  1. Under Reference menu, expand the Style by clicking the small arrow in Style ribbon. This will drop down the Style panel;
  2. Place your cursor on one of the table names you have created and you can see the Caption in the Style panel is selected (sorrounded by a blue box). Click the small arrow on the right of that box and click modify.

In the appearing window, you can change many attributes of the Caption. You can click Format to see all attributes you can change. For example, you can change the Paragraph to adjust distance of the Caption from its table, while with Tab you can adjust position of the label (table title or name) relative to its Caption.

Image 4: Inserting List of Tables
Image 4: Inserting List of Tables

How to create a list of table

After applying caption to tables inside your document, you can now create a list of tables easily. And accurately! That is without any errors!

  1. Position your cursor where you want put the List of Tables;
  2. Under Reference menu, click Insert Table of Figure and the box shown in Image 4 will appear'
  3. In the appearing Table of Figures windows, select Table in Caption Label: box and unselect the radio buttton next to use hyperlink instead of page numbers to show page numbers (not links) (Image 4);
  4. Click OK to see your List of Tables.

Image 4: List of Tables
Image 4: List of Tables

Editing your List of Tables

  1. To modify the look of your List of Tables, click the small arrow on the right of Caption in Style panel to see Modify button and click that to bring its window;
  2. Click Format and Paragraph to modify it;
  3. Set Indentation Right by 1 cm and then for Special, select Hanging and By 1.7 cm (Tese value are as an example; Image 6.

You List of Tables now looks like the following (Image 7). Compare this Image 7 with Image 4 above; see the changes on the ruler.

Image 7: Edited List of Tables
Image 7: Edited List of Tables

Updating your List of Table

If create more tables, at the end or in between your existing tables, all the tables will autonumbered in sequence (provided you use Caption). Then you need to update your List of Table.

  1. Right click on your current List of Tables;
  2. Click Update Field;
  3. Select Update entire table;
  4. Click OK. Done!


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