Separate table (or figure) numbering for appendices

A question recently came up in the Word-PC e-mail list which is quite typical of something a student doing a thesis or dissertation might come across. I will also modify this post to that context. I was quick to give an answer, and only later thought through all the implications, so that my initial answer would have been less than satisfactory. Here is, what I believe, a more robust solution.

The requirement is as follows:

  1. A dissertation is using chapter-based numbering instead of sequential numbering for its tables (i.e., in Chapter 3, the tables would be 3-1, 3-2, etc.). Note of course, that the student can set the delimiter (here a hyphen) in the process of activating chapter based numbering (the dialog is shown below)—many students use a period.
  2. The dissertation also has appendices, which must be numbered with uppercase letters (Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.).
  3. Those appendices contain tables (or figures, or any other label created with the Insert Caption tool).
  4. Those tables need to be numbered in the chapter-based style, but now reflecting the Appendix number. Thus A-1, A-2, etc. for Appendix A, and so on.

Parts of these are very easy to do. It’s the combination that is a headache.

Requirement 1 is simple. Just use the Insert Caption tool to add the numbers, and set the table-based numbering. See p. 162–163 of Doing your dissertation with Microsoft Word if you have the book (if you don’t some screen caps below will help).

Requirement 2 is equally simple. I have created, in the two templates (Thesis 2010.dotx and Thesis up 2009.dotx) which can be downloaded from the examples page, a style called “Appendix Title” that uses normal upper case alphabetic numbering. This is what the style looks like, showing its definition:

Some pointers. When modifying the style, be sure to go to the paragraph dialog and set its outline level to Level 1. This will ensure that it should be included in your Table of Contents (mine is based on Heading 1, which gives the same end result). Using this style for your appendix headings gives them the desired numbering scheme, thus satisfying requirement 2.

Requirements 3 and 4 are dealt with together, as these are the more tricky ones.

Here are the problems:

When Word adds caption labels, and those caption labels use chapter-based numbering, Word actually adds two fields: One is a STYLEREF field which is set to automatically pull in the heading level 1. The second is a SEQ field, which is set to restart after each occurrence of heading level 1.

Furthermore, whenever you add a table anywhere in the dissertation, Word runs through all instances of the table, and resets all of them. If you thus make changes to the switches of these caption labels in the appendix, they can get nixed by adding any table anywhere else in the dissertation.

To get started, use the Insert Caption tool to insert the caption label for the first table in the first appendix. We will modify the fields it adds afterwards (or, if you are confident writing out fields by hand, you can just skip ahead).

Click on Insert Caption (Captions group, References ribbon). From the Caption dialog, choose Numbering… to open the Caption Numbering dialog, and include the chapter number, also choosing the delimiter (separator). No need to change the Chapter start with style setting here, since all that is allow are the nine built-in heading levels. We will modify this manually later:

Once the chapter-based numbering has been set, the Caption dialog should look more or less like this:

Clicking on OK let’s Word add the caption label, using two fields.

Let’s first look at those fields Word adds. This is what they look like before and after being selected and set to Show field codes (Shift + F9):

So. The field codes (the bits between the braces) and text Word adds, is:

Table { STYLEREF 1 \s }–{SEQ Table \* ARABIC \s 1}

We can’t just change the STYLEREF field from 1 (Word shorthand for the built-in style “Heading 1”) to “Appendix Title,” as Word will nix this each time it updates the caption labels when a table is added somewhere. We also cannot change the restart switch for the SEQ field to anything other than 1-9 (i.e., Word’s nine built-in heading styles).

So we need a slightly different approach.

The first thing is to keep Word from automatically changing these table captions. The second is to get it to restart with each new appendix. Both of these are accomplished by setting the first appendix table caption to:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \r 1}

The change to the STYLEREF field will pull in the required appendix number (from my custom style–if you are using a different style, then you would have to include whatever that style name would be). But note that it is the change to the SEQ identifier (from Table to AppendixTable) that essentially creates a new sequence, and prevents Word from reverting the STYLEREF field from STYLEREF “Appendix Title” back to STYLEREF 1. The SEQ field switch \r 1 which has replaced the \s 1 switch tells Word to restart at 1 here. Note that the 1s in the two switches have vastly different meanings. The \s 1 means restart numbering if there is an instance of “Heading 1” style between me and the preceding similar caption. The 1 refers to Heading 1. The \r 1 means restart right here, using the number 1. Here the 1 refers to 1.

But still more needs to be done. For each subsequent table in each appendix, the caption must be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \n}

Here the \n switch just tells Word to continue the numbering sequence from the previous similar caption label.

So the first table caption of each appendix will be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \r 1}

And the table caption of all other tables in each appendix will be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \n}

Probably the best way to achieve this is to simply copy and paste the caption paragraph for each new table. Yes, it’s a little manual work, but it’s not that bad. If you’re work averse, you could always record a macro writing out the fields (remember to use Ctrl + F9 to add the field braces) and then run that macro each time. Remember to also set the paragraph style to Caption, thus ensuring consistent formatting for your chapter and appendix tables.

Unfortunately, the job is not quite done.

Because we changed the SEQ field from SEQ Table to SEQ AppendixTable, the tables in the appendices will not appear in the list of tables. So we need to fix that.

To get that done, insert (or re-insert) the list of tables.

From the Table of Figures dialog, select the Options button:

In the Table of Figures Options dialog, specify that the table of figures should be built from the Caption Style:

Once you click on OK, notice that back in the Table of Figures dialog, Word will have set the Caption label to (none). This won’t do, because that means that the table will include, tables, figures, and any other caption labels. Compare the Table of Figures dialog below to the one shown above:

Just reset this to Table, and click on OK:

The end result is a list of tables that includes both your chapter and appendix tables:

The great thing about this approach is that it is stable and it works. It will withstand the updating caused by adding new tables or deleting existing tables, updating all fields in the document, closing and re-opening the document, etc.

It does require a small amount of manual work, but I think it is well worth the effort.

Update (2014-03-11):
If you want to do this with multiple captions (e.g., Tables and Figures in your appendices), then a little more work is needed. Read about it here.