General Question

delirium's avatar

Is there any way, in the most recent version of Word, to create a number field that acts like page numbers but without the pages?

Asked by delirium (13669points) June 11th, 2009

I deal with a lot of very large documents at work, and a continual problem is the fact that every time we change one of the figures that are cited in the text, or add a new figure, all the other numbers in the entire 80+ page thing need to be changed by hand so they’re all bumped up: 50 to 51, 51 to 52, etc.

This would be a LIFESAVER if it is possible.

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8 Answers

delirium's avatar

Also, it would have to be ‘smart’ because figures do bounce around and get cited multiple times.

SirBailey's avatar

Are you saying the page numbers go up one when a figure in the document changes?

(Forget that. I just realized you’re not talking figures as in “number”; you’re talking figures as in “diagram, graph,...”).

robmandu's avatar

You want automatic figure numbers. Word can absolutely do that. They’ll update when you move them as well as be reflected in the TOC when you update that (assuming you have it show that level of detail).

Okay, so now that I said it can… so I need to figure out how. I usually rely on the tech writers here to employ that kind of black magic.

robmandu's avatar

Your best bet for the low down on how to do this might be best found in Word’s help facility. Try searching for “add captions”.

From Word 2007, mine says:


You can add captions to figures, equations, or other objects. 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.

If the objects in your document are formatted as floating objects (floating object: A graphic or other object that is inserted in the drawing layer so that you can position it precisely on the page or in front of or behind text or other objects.), follow the instructions for adding captions to floating objects.

Add a caption

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. In the Label list, select the label that best describes the object, such as a picture or equation. If the list doesn’t provide the correct label, click New Label, type the new label in the Label box, and then click OK.

4. Type any text, including punctuation, that you want to appear after the label.

5. Select any other options you want.

That sound like the right thing?

cwilbur's avatar

This sort of feature was exactly what drove me to LaTeX when I was doing a lot of technical writing about a decade ago. Word 98 just couldn’t do it, and Word 2000 could do it in theory but was very crashy, and a single crash could corrupt the file.

I hope they’ve improved it.

Jeruba's avatar

Hi, @delirium. Haven’t seen you in a while. Welcome back! Or—if you haven’t actually been away—then just glad to see you.

prasad's avatar

Use captions for figures/pictures/photos/tables as @robmandu has explained.
When you change/add another figure/table in between, the caption for figures/tables would also get updated. However, it won’t update the cross-references or citations that you’ve used inside the documents. For updating all the fields (including table of contents, figures, tables, cross-references), you can do following:

(I’ve assumed you’ve inserted cross-references for what you say citations within text)

Manually: Select all (ctrl + a) and press F9 key to update all fields. If this works well, then fine. However, if it messes with formatting, then better try the macro below.

Using macro: Once, you open your word, click Alt + F11 to open the visual basic editor. There, in the menu, click Insert -> Module. Then, copy the following code and paste it into the module so opened.

Sub UpdateAll()

Dim myRange

Set myRange = Selection.Range

Selection.WholeStory
Selection.Fields.Update

myRange.Select

End Sub

Then, run this procedure or macro by pressing F5 key. This would update all the fields.
Hope this helps.

prasad's avatar

You can use breaks (page breaks, etc.) to handle movement of text and figures in the document.
For photos or figures you can format it by right clicking and then format object/picture. There you can try different text wrapping formats as you like.

If you’re drawing your figure using shapes, then, insert the drawing canvas first and draw your figure on it. This would keep the shapes together.

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