Word: Unbolded caption numbers

August 2, 2010


You insert an automated figure or table number and caption into your Word document and all appears fine. Your Caption style is set to bold. However, when you update the fields in your document, the caption remains bold, but the figure and/or table numbers become unbolded (is that a word? you know what I mean anyway).

So instead of Figure 1.1 <blah>, you now have Figure 1.1 <blah>.

Something is turning the bolding on and off. I had this on a document the other day, and it took some hunting to fix it.

Possible solutions

Here are some possible solutions that may work for you:

Solution 1: Clear any manual formatting from the style

  1. Select the entire caption.
  2. Press Ctrl+Spacebar to return the formatting to that set by the Caption style.

Unfortunately, you have to do this to each caption… And when you update all fields again, it might come back (see Solution 3).

Solution 2: Make sure Preserve Formatting is selected for the field

The caption numbers are fields, so I suggest you turn on Field Shading first so you can see them clearly.

  1. Right-click each numbered field in each caption, then select Edit Field.
  2. Make sure the Preserve Formatting check box is selected, then click OK.
  3. Select the number that’s unbolded and reapply bold to it.

Solution 3: Look for a macro setting

If the numbers go unbolded after you update all the fields again, then there’s something else at play.

In my case, it was an ‘UpdateFields’ macro that had a .Bold = False line in it. I commented out the line by puttingin front of it. Then I updated all the fields in the document. I saw the numbers go unbolded again (and sighed heavily!), but then I did the Ctrl+spacebar thing again to reset to the default Caption style, updated the fields one more time, and this time the bold stuck. I only had about 30 captions to do in that document so it didn’t take long (some of my docs have hundreds of captions…).

Anyone have any other suggested solutions?

See also:

[Links last checked February 2012]


  1. I always check the Format> Bullets and Numbering> Numbered> Customize> Font settings to make sure that the font description in the Numbering dialog matches the selected font, font size, and style selected in the Format> Styles dialog for the caption style. Any differences may make your captions look funky. I’ve had captions with 10pt numbers in a 12pt caption, or even Times New Roman numbers in an Arial caption. Numbers in a totally different font really do look funky.

  2. Thanks — I had checked for number font formatting, but the numbers dialog box said numbering was set to ‘None’ so I didn’t pursue it.

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