tl;dr: My figures' numbers are out of order. How do I fix that?

I have a Microsoft Word document based on the HCI Archive Format. Each page is split into two columns, and figures must be placed at the top or bottom of each. To allow text to flow through the columns and past the figures, I have placed my figures with Absolute positioning, with "Top and Bottom" text wrapping style. I then Insert Caption on my images, and Word places a Text Box with Absolute positioning below them.

On one page I have a figure at the top of the left column, and the bottom of the right column. Word insists on numbering the top left one as "Figure 4" and the bottom right one as "Figure 3". How can I fix this so that the top left is Figure 3, and the bottom right is Figure 4?

                          Screenshot of page with two columns of text, with figures at top left and bottom right.

I have tried deleting and re-adding the captions. When I add to the top left, it becomes Figure 3. When I add to the bottom right, however, it then becomes Figure 3 and the top left image becomes Figure 4.

3 Answers 3


Have you checked your anchors? I came across the following which explains how that can wreak havoc with the figure numbering: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2007-word/automatic-label-numbers-for-figures-are-coming-out/3f5e6f11-84f6-42b0-9b36-b3d99c1c00da


I eventually fixed it by swapping the location of each caption (dragging them around to where I wanted them) and then editing the descriptive text following Figure _ to be appropriate. While effective, this seems like a hack. I will not be accepting this answer, but include it here in case it helps someone else.


I had pictures in text boxes so I could manipulate them. Figure 7 was for Figure 6. I really needed them swapped but could not find a way.

So I copied the text box with fig 6 and pasted it and it became fig 8. Deleted figure 6 then pressed Ctrl+F2 and Esc key and everything was updated as it should be. Note this is a really hokey solution.

  • 1
    I don't think that suggesting that OP not used the built-in features is a very helpful suggestion. Sep 30, 2015 at 20:01

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