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Formatting in Microsoft Word – Further Features

This guide complements the Formatting in Microsoft Word - Quick Guide. It introduces you to some less frequently used formatting features, which may be particularly useful if you are creating your dissertation. These features will also save you time and help you create a consistent, more accessible and professional looking document.

Note: This guide has been produced using Word 2010. Other versions of Word may differ.

It is advisable to format your document as you create it. However, if you have a completed or near completed document that you are formatting, always start at the beginning of the document and work logically towards the end, as each change you make has an effect on the later portion of the document.

Note: If the formatting is behaving in an unexpected way, Copy and then Paste (Keep Text Only) everything into a new document. This will remove any problem formatting and you can begin to format your document again.


Captions can be added to objects in your document, eg tables, graphs and images. A Table of Figures can then be created from them to sit alongside your Table of Contents or be integrated into it.

Add a caption

  1. Select the figure. Click on the References tab – Captions group – Insert Caption.
  2. From the Label drop down list, select a type, eg Figure.
  3. From the Positions drop down list, select where you want the caption to appear.
  4. Click on OK.

If you add a new caption during editing, Word will suggest the logical number and automatically renumber all the subsequent captions.

Note: to create a custom label type, in the Captions dialogue box, click on New Label.

Delete a caption

  1. Select the caption and press the Delete key.
  2. Click on the caption number of the next caption in the document.
  3. Click on the References tab – Captions group – Insert CaptionNumbering…OK - Close.

This will renumber all subsequent captions appropriately.

Table of Figures

A table of figures can be automatically generated from the captions in your document.

Insert a Table of Figures

  1. Place your cursor where you want the Table of Figures to appear.
  2. Click on ReferencesCaptions group - Insert Table of Figures.
  3. From the Caption label drop down list, select the label type to be displayed, eg Figure.
  4. Click on OK.

Note: If you have used multiple label types in your document, eg Figure and Table, you will need to create a table for each.

Integrate the Table of Figures into a Table of Contents

If you don't want to have multiple tables for different label types, you can display them all within your Table of Contents. To do this:

1. When inserting your table of contents, click on Options...
2. Under the Available styles: list, in the box next to Captions, type a TOC level number, eg 3.
3. Click on OK and OK again.

Update tables

Tables of Figures and Tables of Contents are updated in the same way.

1. Right click on the table and select Update Field.
2. Select either Update page numbers only or Update entire table.
3. Click on OK.

Cross reference

Adding a cross reference creates a link from one part or your document to another. It removes the need to duplicate information that you may refer to more than once, eg Appendix 1.

  1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the cross reference in your document.
  2. Click on the References tab – Captions group – Cross-reference.
  3. Select a Reference type from the drop down list, eg Heading. If using headings, styles must have been used in your document.
  4. Select the relevant item from the list beneath and click on Insert - Close.
  5. The link to the item will be inserted. Hover over it to see a screen tip for how to use it (Ctrl + Click to follow link).

Different page numbers within a section

You may want your page numbers in a different format for part of your document (eg roman numerals for the preface), or in a different place (eg on landscape pages). To do this, use section breaks to create separate sections within your document.

Page numbers on landscape pages

If you have landscape pages in your document, the page numbers may appear in the wrong place when the document is printed. To ensure the numbering appears in portrait orientation:

  1. Ensure page numbers have already been added to your document.
  2. Click in the footer area of the landscape page.
  3. Click on the Header & Footer Tools, Design tab – Navigation group – Link to Previous (to deselect it). Repeat this for the header of the landscape section and the header and footer of the section that follows.
  4. In the landscape section delete the existing page number in the footer.
  5. Click on the Insert tab – Header & Footer group – Page NumbersPage Margins.
  6. Make a selection from the gallery, eg Border Left. The page number will appear in a text box in the selected position.
  7. Click on the page number to select it.
  8. Click on the Drawing Tools, Format tab – Text group – Text Direction. Select Rotate all text 90 degrees.

Note: the page numbers will update automatically when you make changes to your document.

Different page number formats

  1. Click in the footer of the section of your document in which you want to have a different number format.
  2. Click on the Header & Footer Tools, Design tab – Navigation group – Link to Previous (to deselect it).
  3. Click on the Insert tab - Header & Footer group – Page NumberFormat Page Numbers.
  4. Select a format. Under Page numbering select Start at: and ensure the first number appears (in whatever format you have selected, eg i or a). Click on OK.

Sort alphabetically (bibliographies and tables)

Use the Sort function to order paragraphs or tabular data (text and numerical). You can apply a single or multiple sort criteria.

Sort paragraphs

Sorting paragraphs alphabetically is particularly useful for bibliographies.

Note: Bibliographies can be created using EndNote.

  1. Highlight the paragraphs to be sorted.
  2. Click on the Home tab – Paragraph group – Sort (A-Z).
  3. Ensure Paragraphs, Text and Ascending are selected and click on OK.

Sort tabular data

Sorting is not limited to text and multiple sort criteria can be applied.

  1. Select the table.
  2. Click on the Home tab – Paragraph group – Sort.
  3. Select the sort criteria and click on OK.


Add a footnote

  1. Highlight the word the footnote is to be attached to.
  2. Click on the References tab – Footnotes group – Insert Footnote.
  3. In the footer of the page a horizontal line with a number will appear. Add your footnote text.
  4. Click out of the footer area when you have finished.

Delete a footnote

  1. Highlight the superscript number in the text of the document and delete it. The footnote text in the footer of the page will automatically be removed.

Note: if you insert or delete footnotes, all other footnotes will be renumbered automatically.

Building blocks

If you frequently type the same text (e.g. an address) or insert the same graphic, you can save these items as Building Blocks using the Quick Parts tool. These items can then be reused in other documents.

Create a Building Block

  1. Select the item / content. Click on the Insert tab -Text group - Quick Parts.
  2. Select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  3. Give the new building block a name and click on OK.

Insert a Building Block

  1. Position the cursor where you want the building block to be inserted.
  2. Click on the Insert tab - Text group -Quick Parts. Select the required building block from the list.

Note: To view all building blocks, select Building Blocks Organizer from the Quick Parts menu. Here you can preview, edit and delete building blocks.

Track changes and comments

Track changes

Track changes can be used when someone other than the author edits a document. This enables the author to see and accept or decline suggested changes.

Add track changes

  1. Click on the Review tab – Tracking group – Track Changes.
  2. Edit the document. All changes made will appear in a different colour and will be underlined. Deletions will have strikethrough text applied.

Note: If multiple people edit a document, the changes will appear in different colours; one for each editor.

Accepting or rejecting track changes

  1. Place your cursor in the first track change.
  2. Click on the Review tab – Changes group - Accept or Reject.
  3. You will be moved automatically to the next track change until you reach the last one.
  4. When you have accepted or rejected all the changes click on the Review tab – Tracking group (to deselect it).
  5. From the drop down box select Final.
  6. Save your document.


Comments are used to add notes to a document, eg to question the validity of a statement.

Add a comment

  1. Highlight the text the comment is to be attached to.
  2. Click on the Review tab – Comments group – New Comment.
  3. Type your comment in the box that appears.

Remove a comment

  1. Right click on the comment box and click on Delete Comment.