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Formatting Your Dissertation (or Thesis): List of Figures and Tables

List of Figures and Tables

Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010

List of Figures and Tables is a separate section in your dissertation or thesis that provides a comprehensive list of all the figures and tables included in your document. It helps readers locate specific figures and tables quickly. 


You can list and organize the figures, pictures, or tables in your Word document by creating a table of figures, much like a table of contents. First add captions to your figures, and then use the Insert Table of Figures command on the References tab. Word then searches the document for your captions and automatically adds a list of figures, sorted by page number.


Before you create a table of figures, you must add captions to all the figures and tables that you want included in your table of figures. For more information, see Add, format, or delete captions in Word.

Insert a table of figures

  1. Click in your document where you want to insert the table of figures.

  2. Click References > Insert Table of Figures.

    The Insert Table of Figures command is on the References tab.

    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 The Insert Table of Figures icon.

  3. You can adjust your Format and Options in the Table of Figures dialog box. Click OK.

Add, format, or delete captions in Word

You can add captions to figures, equations, or other objects. A caption is a numbered label, such as "Figure 1", that you can add to a figure, a table, an equation, or another object. It's comprised of customizable text ("Figure", "Table", "Equation" or something else that you type) followed by an ordered number or letter ("1, 2, 3..." or "a, b, c..." typically) which can be optionally followed by some additional, descriptive, text if you like.

A caption with a label and a number

1. Text that you select or create.

2. Number that Word inserts for you

If you later add, delete, or move captions, you can easily update the caption numbers all at once.

You can also use those captions to create a table of the captioned items for example, a table of figures or a table of equations.

Update a table of figures

If you add, delete, change, or move captions, use Update Table so the table of figures reflects your changes.

  1. Click on the table of figures in your document. This will highlight the entire table.

  2. Click References > Update Table.

    The Update Table command is on the References tab.

    Note:  Update Table becomes an option only when you click the table of figures in your document. You can also press F9 to update your table of figures.

  3. Select an Update in the in the Update Table of Figures dialog box.

    • Select Update page numbers if you need to adjust the page numbers.

    • Select Update entire table if you have moved figures or altered captions.

  4. Click OK.

Add captions automatically

Word can add captions automatically as you insert tables or other objects.

  1. Select the object (table, equation, figure, or another object) that you want to add a caption to.

  2. On the References tab, in the Captions group, click Insert Caption.

  3. On the Captions dialog box, click AutoCaption, and then select the check boxes for the items that you want Word to automatically add captions to. You can also choose which position to add captions to in the Position drop-down list.