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Microsoft Word for Dissertations

Describes many of the special features of Microsoft Word you can use to make formatting your dissertation easier. While it's focused on dissertations, this information is useful for any long document.

Automatic Lists of Figures and Tables

If you have captioned your figures, tables, and equations using Word’s captioning feature (see the Captions tab in the left-side navigation of this Guide), you can have Word generate your lists for you automatically.

  1. Place your cursor where you want your list to be.
  2. In the References tab, click the Insert Table of Figures button  (use this for lists of tables or equations, too).
  3. In the window that appears, select the label for which you want to make a list from the Caption Label menu (such as "Equation", "Figure", or "Table").
  4. If you want to change the style of your table of contents (e.g. change the font, or you want more space between each item in the list), click on the Modify button, select the Table of Figures style, then click the Modify button to do so. Click OK when you are done.
  5. Click OK to insert your table of contents.

Repeat these steps to insert other lists into your document (Rackham requires separate lists for tables, figures, and any other label you’ve used).  A List of Appendices is handled differently - see the Appendices section of this Guide for more information.

Including Figures and Supplemental Figures in the List of Figures

There are two ways to combine Figures AND Supplemental Figures in your List of Figures -- the easy way, and the complicated way. It comes down to how you want the list to be laid out. This goes for Tables and Supplemental Tables, too, of course.

The Easy Way

Use the Insert Caption tool to apply a Figure caption (just like you've been doing with your regular Figures) to each of your Supplemental Figures. Once you've got the caption in place, then just type the word "Supplemental" before "Figure X".  When you update it, the List of Figures will pull in "Supplemental Figure X" into the List.  The drawback is that the numbering for those Supplemental Figures will follow the numbering for your regular Figures, so you'll have:

Figure 1.1
Figure 1.2
Supplemental Figure 1.3
Figure 1.4

If you'd prefer the first Supplemental Figure to be numbered independently of the Figure numbering ("Supplemental Figure 1.1"), then things get a bit more complicated. We cover how to integrate figures and supplemental figures into one List of Figures in the section below.

How do I integrate figures and supplemental figures in the same List of Figures?

A recent email inquiry:

Several of my chapters have supplemental figures at the end that I would like to include in the List of Figures at the beginning of my thesis. Do you know how to include all captions labeled either "Supplemental Figure" or "Figure" in the same List of Figures, using Word styles? I know how to create a label for each type of figure, but not how to integrate those two different labels into one List, based on order of appearance in my dissertation. Right now, I have to create two Lists: Figures go in the first, and Supplemental Figures go in the second. I want to set it up so that Figure 1 is followed by Supplemental Figure 1, which is followed by Figure 2, all in the same List. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Our response:

The problem you're running into is that a "List of..." can only have captions representing one caption label. We can set up separate labels for "Figures" and "Supplemental Figures", but as you've found, you then have to have each of those two lists in your List of Figures, one after the other:

Figure 1.1
Figure 1.2
Figure 1.3
Supplemental Figure 1.1
Supplemental Figure 1.2

To the reader, it wouldn't necessarily be apparent they are two lists, of course, but they would not be integrated as you're hoping.

If you don't mind the Supplemental Figure numbers NOT starting over at 1 (Figure 1.6 might be followed by Supplemental Figure 1.7, and then Figure 1.8, for example), then you can continue to use the Figure caption...and manually insert the word "Supplemental" before Figure. All of that will still get pulled into the List of Figures.

The real, but problematic, solution:

But if you really want to have those supplemental figures interspersed among the other figures in your List of Figures and using their own numbering scheme, there's a way. The solution is tricky, it's a bit of a hack, and may be more trouble than it's worth...but you'll be the best judge of that. 

The trick is to go ahead and create the two caption labels, and then we'll create one List that pulls in ALL captions -- which means this List will initially be cluttered with all your Table, Figure, Supplemental Figure, etc... captions -- an messy thing, but we did mention this solution was a little tricky. Then – most importantly – we'll delete the lines that include captions for things we don't want in there.

Start off by deleting any existing List of Figures you already have. Then:


1. Place your cursor where you want your integrated list of figures to be.

2. In the References tab, click Insert Table of Figures

3. In the window that appears, click Options...







4. Check the box to build the table of figures using Style: Caption, then click OK

5. Click OK to close the Table of Figures window.








That will create one list that includes ALL of your captions -- tables, figures, equations, supplemental figures -- everything. You now need to delete the things that shouldn't be there. A helpful tip is to hover your cursor in the empty 1" margin just to the left of the lines you want to delete (your cursor will change to a rightward-facing arrow) and click once to select a line. Click and drag in the margin to select multiple lines. This can make it much easier to select things to delete.

This is something you should wait to do until just before you save it as a PDF or send it to a reviewer, because anytime you update that all-in-one List of Figures field, it'll pull EVERYTHING back in again...and you'll have to delete the unwanted items again.

Obviously, this is a hack and could be a big job if there are a lot of captions to find and delete. There may be a more elegant way to do it, but we haven't found anything better yet, unfortunately. Perhaps you could create a brand new caption style (or modify an existing style that's not being used), apply it to all your Figure and Supplemental Figure captions, and use this same trick to "Build table of figures from:" that new style -- but we haven't dug into that yet. Still pretty "hacky", but perhaps worth exploring if you're feeling adventurous.