How do you create a two-line figure caption and a one-line entry in your Table of Figures? Word 2010, 2013, 2016

26 Oct

This one was suggested by a regular reader of this blog in a comment, and I promise to write about it quite a long time ago.

This is a very specific situation where the style guide for your organisation or publisher demands that you have Figure and Table captions set out over two lines, but you want the Table of Figures to have one line including both Figure label and caption, so it looks something like this:

caption with two lines table of figures with one

How not to create a two-line figure caption

The natural inclination is to use the Return key to split the Figure label and caption, either by entering it all in one line in Insert Caption then splitting it up or using Insert Caption to add the title, hitting Enter then adding the caption. However, when you create your Table of Figures, it either won’t pick up the second line at all or will create two entries in the Table of Figures:

incorrect two line caption and table of figures

How to create a two-line figure caption so the Table of Figures only has one line per figure

This is how you do it correctly. The key is to use the soft line return (Shift+Enter) rather than a hard, paragraph return (Enter).

Place the cursor where you want to insert your caption and go to the References tab, Insert Caption:

Insert caption

Make sure the figure label reads as you want it to (adjust the label to Table, etc.) and then hit OK

Insert caption word

Place the cursor at the end of the figure label and hit Shift+Enter to start a new line:

Adding a new line to your caption word

Type in your caption:

word second line of caption


Type the whole caption into the Insert Caption box and press OK:

word insert whole caption before splitting

Place the cursor at the start of the caption and press Shift+Enter to move it down to the next line:


Now create your Table of Figures using References, Insert Table of Figures and you should have one entry per Figure:

caption with two lines table of figures with one

This article has taught you how to create two-line figure captions which show on one line in your Table of Figures.

If you have found this useful, please comment using the comment box below and/or share using the social media sharing buttons. Thank you!

Other useful posts on this blog

How to create a Table of Contents

Table of Figures and Table of Tables

How to update your Table of Contents, Table of Tables or Table of Figures

Editing and the Table of Contents


Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Copyediting, Short cuts, Students, Word, Writing


Tags: , , ,

6 responses to “How do you create a two-line figure caption and a one-line entry in your Table of Figures? Word 2010, 2013, 2016


    February 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Brilliant thanks. Saved me house and very clearly explained.


  2. Leslie Jernberg

    June 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    This works well, but what if the two lines are different fonts in the doc, but not in the Table of Tables? What if I need a colon after the Table designation. What if I need a tab after the colon?
    In the body of my doc
    Table I (shift enter) – note there is no colon because the reference manual doesn’t want one
    caption words (in italic)

    But in my Table of Tables, I need
    Table I: (1/2 tab) caption words (not in italic)

    Thanks for any help you can provide


    • Liz Dexter

      June 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      If your style guide demands one style in the captions and another in the table of figures, you might have to manually edit your table of figures once the document is finalised and you’re not going to change it any more (as if you update it, it will return to its previous format). Which style are you using, out of interest?



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