I am seeking for a way to number each equation based on the chapter numbers. The number should be placed at the right side of the equation and the equation should be center-aligned. Something like this:

center-aligned equation with it's number aligned on the right

(The bounding box around 2.3 is not necessary).

I found this article that do this in a tricky way. Sadly it has some problems when I use multilevel numbering for Headings.

To conclude, I am looking for a way to numbers equations that:

  • The numbering is formatted as N-M that N is chapter number and M is equation number.
  • equation is placed in center-aligned
  • number is placed in the right side of equation
  • There should be a way to cross-reference each numbered equation.


  • Any chance of switching to InDesign?
    – digitxp
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 20:05
  • Nope. I have to write my reports in MSWord. A free Add-on would be acceptable too, but i am curious: Is it impossible to do this with Word without any third-party app? Then it is a shame, isn't it?
    – Isaac
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 20:28

3 Answers 3


Creating the labels

  • You go to the place where the label should be inserted
  • Press CTRL + F9 and curly brackets appear
  • Into the brackets you insert "STYLEREF 1 \s"
  • Move the cursor behind the brackets, press . and press CTRL + F9
  • Into the brackets you insert "SEQ eqn \* Arabic \s 1 \* MERGEFORMAT"
  • It should look this way:

    { STYLEREF 1 \s }.{ SEQ eqn \* Arabic \s 1 \* MERGEFORMAT }

Click into each of the curly brackets once and type F9 each time. You get this:


You can do this as well by clicking via "Insert -> Text -> Quick Parts -> Field ...".

How does it work?

  • "STYLEREF 1" prints the number of the current "Heading 1" section
  • "SEQ eqn" creates a sequence named 'eqn'
  • "\s 1" restarts the sequence at each "heading 1"

This page might help understanding how SEQ works: http://wordribbon.tips.net/T008180_Numbering_with_Sequence_Fields.html

Auto-Insert the label

This idea comes from here: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/word-2007-setting-up-seq-fields-for-numbering-pt-1/

  • mark your new label (not the newline in the end!)
  • go to "File -> Options -> Proofing -> AutoCorrect Options ..."
  • Insert e.g. "(EQ)" into the "Replace" field. The "With" field is already filled with your expression. Click "Add".
  • Now, every time you type "(EQ)" + SPACE your label is inserted.

This can be combined with Calchas solution in How do you easily add equation numbers to Microsoft Word 2010 equations? . At least I do it.


I do it with bookmarks:

  • bookmark labels are created via "Insert -> Links -> Bookmark"
  • Cross-Referencing works via the cross-referencing button
  • How to make it work within the equation field? It doesn't seem to work even when I put the proofing in the equation too.
    – Al Guy
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:24
  • I did this with Word 2013. Which Word version are you using? Could you specify where your problem arises? Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 20:36
  • Word 2017. The exact procedure described above doesn't work inside the math equation field
    – Al Guy
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 21:58
  • @AlGuy Please state: which step exactly does not work? Otherwise, I cannot help you. Does the procedure work outside of the math environment? Do the Hotkeys "F9 + ..." work? E.g. when you press "CTRL + F9" you should get a dark-grey text field surrounded by curly brackets. Do you use Word for Windows or for Mac? How do you realize that it does not work (error message? empty field?)? If only empty space is shown: what happens if you mark the whole line and press "F9"? Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 13:00
  • 2
    Though each step works, one cannot put the number and the equation in a same line, without converting the equation from Display to Inline mode. If you add a table without borders, with two columns, and then drag the equation inside the table, you can make them appear in the same line.
    – Brethlosze
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 3:33

This question was asked a long time ago, but it may still be relevant for those who don't have MS Word 2016. Instead of captions which have to be cut/paste, you can enter proper fields into the right column as I described here. Click Insert--->Quick Parts --->Field. Scroll down to StyleRef . Then select the section which you want to be the basis, for example Heading 1. This will print the chapter number. Then click again Insert--->Quick Parts --->Field. This time scroll down to Seq. This will sequentially print the equation number. And you save the whole thing: Quick Parts--->Auto text--->Save the selection in auto text gallery.

  • Welcome to Super User! Please edit your answer to include the relevant information from the linked page. This makes sure your answer remains useful in the event that the linked page changes, moves, or disappears.
    – Excellll
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 14:08
  • +1 for "Quick Parts--->Auto text--->Save the selection in auto text gallery"! Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 12:57

(In progress)

Instructions in parenthesis might not be necessary.

Generate a Table with an Empty Equation

  1. InsertTable → Select 3 columns and 1 rows.

  2. Select the whole table, right click, Properties.

  3. Table tab.
    → (Preferred width: 100%.)
    Borders and Shading…None → OK.
    → (Options…Automatically resize to fit contents → OK.)

  4. Cell tab → Center

  5. OK

  6. (You can create a paragraph style for the tables that include equations.) Center the text of the middle cell. Right align the text of the right cell. (Alternatively, you use a paragraph style for center-aligned cells and another for right-aligned cells. I use these styles, along with another for left-aligned cells, for all my tables.)

  7. Place the cursor in the middle cell.

Some people add an extra step: set column width of the columns to, for example, 10%, 80% and 10%. This is unnecessary because the middle column expands equally to left and right when the equations is sufficiently wide, thus keeping the equation centered. (If you want to make more space wide equations and you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of centering you can use a two-column table. In this case will need to assign percentages).

To create new equations with as a keyboard shortcut, go to FileOptionsCustomize RibbonCustomize Shortcuts and then selecting "Building Blocks". Search for your newly created equation template in the right list, then assign a keyboard shortcut to it.

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