Two questions about captions in Word (they are related, hence the same post):

  • Using Word 2010 (and its inbuilt equation editor) I've got figure captions which contain equations (well, actually, they represent chemical equations, such as nitrate, for which the correct representation is NO3- where the 3 is subscript and the - is superscript, but in the same column). However, when I generate a figure list, the equation displays as NO3- (with no subscript or superscript) - Word knows it's an equation though (the Equation Tools design ribbon/tab is displayed when I click on the NO3-). I've tried changing it from Professional to Linear and similar other obvious options, but still can't get it to display correctly.

    File to show this problem in action: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/101867759/EqtnTest.docx - note how the (chemical) equation for nitrate is rendered correctly in the 'caption' on Page 2, but not in the ToC on page 1.

  • I have another caption where the whole figure is included in my list of figures. When I double click on the caption in my text, the caption is highlighted (as expected), but so is the figure (this doesn't happen with any of my other figures) so I assume that the figure has been 'linked' in some way to the text - how do I remove this link?

  • 1
    Is it possible to upload the file somewhere? Or at least part of it? Like SkyDrive, DropBox, etc? It'd be easier to try to solve it... – Luiz Angelo Dec 13 '12 at 19:55
  • I'll strip it right down so that only the problem exists, and put it on dropbox - I've also got another issue (superuser.com/questions/518469/…) so if you've got any ideas about that too I'll be grateful! :) that would be harder to upload because of the master doc / sub documents – ChrisW Dec 13 '12 at 21:18
  • @LuizAngelo - link added – ChrisW Dec 14 '12 at 1:22
  • Actually you've should opened two questions. But regarding the "linking", can you try an upload that too? I'm not very familiar with equations, it's better to have the file... – Luiz Angelo Dec 14 '12 at 12:45

The bad news is that Microsoft Word removes such complex formatting from OOML equations when adding them to the TOC. You can reproduce this using a TOC field and a simple equation such as the area of a circle. I haven't found any direct way around this which leads me to believe it's the expected behavior.

There is a work around that I found although and assuming there are only a few equations that appear in your TOC and if you are willing it could work well. You will need to change the equation so it is inserted as an embedded document (steps below). This seems to "trick" Microsoft Word into displaying the equation as it's displayed while still keeping the equation intact and editable.

  1. Move to the equation and highlight it completely by selecting the "grip" to the left.
  2. Copy it (CTRL+C) and remove the original by pressing Delete.
  3. Click Paste -> Paste Special and select Microsoft Word Document Object.
  4. Click OK. The equation should be inserted with a long dotted box. around it. It is now part of an embedded document.
  5. Drag the right blue dot to the left to make the width of the box as small as possible.
  6. It should now fit on the same line as it originally did however you will see the equation is raised above the line more than it should be.
  7. Click the equation so the dotted lines appear. Open the Font menu (CTRL+D).
  8. Click the Advanced tab and change the Position Drop down to Lowered.
  9. Enter the appropriate points to lower the equation into position in the box next to it, in this case 9 pt looks the best.
  10. Finally right click the TOC and click Update.

The result is the equation should now contain the correct formatting in the TOC. Since the equation is embedded in another document now to edit it just double click on the equation. I have uploaded the output produced on your document by following the above steps (right click the little arrow and choose Download).

Regarding the second issue with the captions, press ALT+F9 to inspect the field codes then compare this with the lines that are working and you should find the reason for the issue.


Try clicking the formula on Table of Contents. Select the "3". "Equation tools / Design" should open. Try selecting the effect you want. You'll have to repeat it if you choose to update the whole table of contents.

PS: My Word is Brazilian Portuguese, so pardon me if the terms don't match.

  • If this does not help, try asking shaunakelly.com – Luiz Angelo Dec 14 '12 at 12:43

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