How to Update Table and Figure Numbers in Microsoft Word

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This tutorial shows how to update table and figure numbers in Microsoft Word.

Hello, my name is Erin.

I’m a professional copy editor who shares writing tips for the real world on this channel

and on my blog at

In a recent tutorial, we used Word’s caption tool to insert table titles and figure captions.

One of the main benefits of using this tool is that Word will automatically number new

tables and figures as you add titles and captions.

However, Word won’t automatically update the existing numbering if you move or delete tables or figures.

So, today we’re going to look at how to update table and figure numbers.

These steps will also update your list of tables or list of figures

if you used Word’s table of contents tool to create those lists.

I’ll be using from Word for Office 365, which is currently the same as Word 2019.

The steps are the same in Word 2016 and similar for Word 2013 and Word 2010.

However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions of the software.

To begin, select the Home tab in the ribbon.

Then, place your cursor inside one of your table titles or figure captions.

Now, select the Select option in the Editing group.

And then choose Select Text with Similar Formatting from the drop-down menu.

Note that PC users can press Ctrl + A to select the entire document

instead of performing the previous four steps.

However, use caution when selecting the entire document if it contains other fields

because you may inadvertently update information that you don’t want to change.

Next, right-click on the selected text and select Update Field from the shortcut menu.

If you have a list of tables or figures created with Word’s table of contents tool,

a dialog box will now appear.

Select "Update entire table" to update the table or figure numbers in your list of tables or figures.

Note that this dialog box won’t appear if you don’t have a list of tables or figures.

Select the OK button to close the dialog box, if applicable.

Now, click an empty area of your document to deselect your table titles or figure captions.

Alternatively, PC users can deselect by pressing Ctrl + D.

Your table and figure numbers, along with your list of tables or figures, should update immediately.

As always, remember to save your file to save your changes.

Note that if you made changes to the number sequence of tables but not figures (or vice versa),

the unchanged numbers should not be affected by the field update

even though they were selected during the fourth step in this process.

Please see the Related Resources section in the description box below for links to my other videos

and blog posts about tables and figures,

including “How to Change the Style of Table Titles and Figure Captions in Microsoft Word,”

“How to Reference Tables and Figures in Text,"

“How to Write Figure Captions for Graphs, Charts, Photos, Drawings, and Maps,”

and “How to Write Table Titles.”

The companion blog post for this video listing all the steps we just performed

appears on, which is linked below.

Feel free to leave me a comment if there’s a specific topic related to Microsoft Word

or Adobe Acrobat that you would like me to talk about in the future.

And please subscribe to my channel and give this video a thumbs-up if you found it helpful.

Thank you so much for watching!