How to create Table of Figures and List of Tables

Word 365
Some requirements demand listing figures, tables, and other visual objects at the end of a document. They are named List of Figures and List of Tables. Microsoft Word offers the functionality named Table of Figures that helps generate and update a list of the captions for pictures, charts, graphs, diagrams, slides, photos, or other illustrations of the document, along with the numbers of the pages on which the captions appear.

Table of Figures pretty much like Table of Content:

  • Is helping readers and reviewers navigate to the visual objects in the document,
  • Is generated from the figure and table captions or other object captions. All captions you need to include in the appropriate Table of Figures should be added using the Caption functionality.

Depending on the selected type of objects (captions label), the list generated by Table of Figures may contain:

Note: See how to transform captions and titles for including or excluding different text parts to the Table of Figures.

Prepare items for a List of Tables or Figures

Before starting a Table of Figures functionality in Word, ensure that all visual objects have captions (or at least style you will use for creating a list). These allow Word to recognize and include them in the appropriate list.

You can create a list of objects and add a caption to the missed object later. Don't forget to update caption numbering and already created lists!


Create a List of Figures or Tables in Word

To create a list of some objects in a Word document, position the cursor to insert the list. Then, on the Reference tab, in the Captions group, click the Insert Table of Figures button:

List of photographs in Word 365

In the Table of Figures dialog box, on the Table of Figures tab (is displayed by default, all other tabs are grayed):

Table of Figures dialog box in Word 365
  • In the General section (we recommend starting from this section because its options can change the selected parameters in other sections):
    • From the Format dropdown list, select a visual format:
      Formats in Table of Figures dialog box Word 365
      • From template is based on the styles established in the current template
      • Classic
      • Distinctive
      • Centered
      • Formal
      • Simple

      Note: Choose any proposed formats and see how the new list will look in the Print Preview section. E.g., the Formal format:

      Formal format for List of Tables Word 365
    • From the Caption label dropdown list, select the type of items you want to include in the Table of Figures:
      Caption label in Table of Figures dialog box Word 365

      Note: There is no option for listing different labels in that list, such as figures and tables together. See how to create a list of all captions in the document below.

    • Ensure that the Include label and number check box is selected if you want the label (i.e., Figure or Table) and the number to be included in the list. E.g.:
      • With the selected Include label and number check box, the list displays the entire captions:
      Formal format for List of Tables Word 365
      • With unselected Include label and number check box, the list displays only text from captions:
      Exclude label and number for List of Tables Word 365

See all the changes and choices in the Print Preview and Web Preview sections:

  • In the Print Preview section (all changes in that section can be changed by the selected options in the General section):
    • Clear the Show page numbers check box if you prefer to hide page numbers from the list:
      Show page numbers in Table of Figures Word 365

      If you deselect this option, all other options in the Print Preview section will disappear.

    • Clear the Right align page numbers check box to display page numbers right after items text:
      Right align page numbers in Table of Figures Word 365

      If you deselect this option, you can't choose the tab leader for page numbers.

    • From the Tab leader dropdown list, select the tab leader you need. You can select dots, dashes, or lines that appear before the page numbers:
      Tab leader in Table of Figures Word 365
  • In the Web Preview section (shows how your list will look if you convert your Word file to a web page):
    • Clear the Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers check box if you prefer to see the same view as in Print Preview:
    Web Preview in Table of Figures Word 365

Create a list for the style or Table entry fields

In the Table of Figures dialog box, on the Table of Figures tab:

  • Click the Options... button to use styles and Table entry fields for the Table of Figures instead of caption labels:
    Table of Figures Options dialog box Word 365

    In the Table of Figures Options dialog box:

    • Select the Style from the dropdown list (check box will be selected automatically) to add all text with the selected style in a Table of Figures:
      Style in Table of Figures Options Word 365

      Note: The Style dropdown list contains all styles already used in the Word document.

      So, Word creates a list of all text blocks in a document with that style. E.g., if you select the Caption style, you will see all captions in a List:

      Caption style in Table of Figures Word 365

      Note: You can create a custom style for some titles or blocks of text and include them in the list. See some examples below.

    • Select the Table entry fields check box to insert Table of Contents entries (see how to create and use the Table of Contents Entries):
      Table entry fields in Table of Figures Options Word 365

      For example, if you have the table titles in the separate line of the label and number, you can create the Table entry fields for such tables:

    Table entry fields 1 in Word 365

    ***

    Table entry fields 2 in Word 365

    So, the List of Table will display specified titles:

    Table entry fields in Table of Figures Word 365

    Note: The issue of this example can also be solved using the transformation of the captions and titles.


Customize the Table of Figures style

In the Table of Figures dialog box, on the Table of Figures tab:

  • Click the Modify... button to modify a predefined style for a Table for Figures.

    In the Style dialog box:

    • In the Styles list, is selected a style that Word will use for a created Table,
    • In the Preview field, check how the style looks,
    • Under Preview, the main options for the style are listed:
      Style Table of Figures in Word 365
    • Click the Modify... button to change the style.

    In the Modify Style dialog box, make changes you need, then click the OK button:

    Modify Style Table of Figures in Word 365

    For example, the Table of Figures with double spacing and indentation for the long captions:

    Formatted Table of Figures in Word 365

    See how to customize the Table of Figure style for more details.


Add a title to the custom Table of Figures

After inserting a new Table of Figures, manually type a title above the list. E.g.:

Title of Table of Figures in Word 365

Attention! We highly recommend checking the formatting requirements, accepted by your college, university, company, or established on the project, etc. For example:

Example of Table of Figures in Word 365

See also how to customize the Table of Figures style.


Empty Table of Figures or Table of Tables

After creating a Table of Figures, Word can create a message “No table of figures entries found”:

Error of Table of Figures in Word 365

The leading cause for this message is that Word could not find the text with the Caption style for the selected caption label (e.g., Figures, Tables, etc.).

To solve that problem, check the style for items captions such as figures and tables which you want to be displayed in the Table of Figures.

Don't forget to update captions and any related items in a document!


Update a List of Tables or Figures

Microsoft Word inserts Table of Figures as a field:

  • Table of Figures: Table of Figures field in Word 365
  • Table of Tables: Table of Tables field in Word 365
  • Table of custom labels (Photos): Table of Photos field in Word 365

So, you can change the TOC field using switches.

Word will not automatically update any Table of Figures after adding, deleting, or modifying included items and pages. To manually update them, follow the next steps:

   1.   Click on the list and do one of the following:

  • On the References tab, in the Captions group, click the Update Table button:
    Update Table button in Word 365

    Note: Only if your cursor is positioned on any of the generated Tables (Table of Figures, Table of Content, etc.), that button is not grayed.

  • Right-click the list and select Update Field from the shortcut menu:
    Update Field in popup menu Word 365

   2.   In the Update Table of Figures dialog box, select elements you need to update:

Update Table of Figures in Word 365

We recommend selecting the Update entire table option always.

   3.   Click the OK button to start updating.

Note: See how to turn on or turn off highlighting of fields in a Word document to display all fields in a document with a gray background.


Edit an existing Table of Figures or Table of Tables

If you need to modify an existing Table of Figures, you can:

To edit the existing Table of Figures, follow the next steps:

   1.   Do one of the following:

  • Click anywhere on the Table, then on the References tab, in the Captions group, click the Insert Table of Figures button.
  • Select all the lines of the Table, then right-click on the selection and choose Edit Field... in the popup menu:
    Edit Field in popup menu Word 365

In the Field dialog box, click the Table of Contents... button:

Field dialog box in Word 365

Note: The button is visible only if you have selected all the existing Table of Figures lines.

   2.   In the Table of Figures dialog box, on the Table of Figures tab, select the options you need.

Be careful! Word opens the Table of Figures dialog box with default options. All the options selected for the existing Table disappear.


Delete a Table of Figures

To delete a List of Figures (List of Tables, or List of any objects), select all the lines of a Table of Figures and press Delete.

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