I wonder if you can help....

I have an InDesign document. A fairly regular document, some text with lots of images. This is how I want it to appear.

enter image description here

I created this document and then added a list of figures ot the end of the document, exactly as you would a table of contents.

However, the image titles do not appear in the expected order. I thought they would follow the order of the automatic numbering being applied by the paragraph style, starting at 1 and following through sequentially to 12.

But, my images were listed in this order; 1,4,7,10,2,5,8,11,3,6,9,12.

A quick search online tells me that the document is being read in the order of the blue line here. That this is how InDesign works.

enter image description here

This is a problem. The images as placed follow a narrative, but the only solution I could find is to renumber the images, going from 1-4 down the first column, 2-8 down the next etc. This does not follow the narrative of the images as placed & looks weird and unprofessional.

My question then is, how do I get to place my images per first image here, and have them appear in the right order in my List of Figures at the end of my document?

Any insight would be very much appreciated. Thanks, Tim

  • Are you using the Table of Contents function to make your List of Figures? Are the image titles a paragraph below each image (not shown in your posted sketch)? I don't understand how you would get your automatic numbering by the paragraph style working without linking the text frames in the correct order. So if they are linked, the way they are linked should dictate the order in the table of contents.
    – Wolff
    Jan 31, 2022 at 21:39
  • Hi Wolff, thanks for the response. So, yes, under each image is a text box. I have set up a paragraph style for these and have the numbering working off of these text boxes. I have not come across the idea of linking these text text boxes to determine the order in which the numbering appears, I'll give it a go and report.
    – TFitzG
    Feb 9, 2022 at 9:30
  • Hi Wolff, so I cant get that to work. I tried linking the text boxes, as you might for the regular body copy, but the image labels just get dragged into previous boxes etc. Am I missing something? Is there another way of linking the text boxes?
    – TFitzG
    Feb 9, 2022 at 9:40
  • But how did you get automatic numbering working without linking? Anyway, not knowing how your text is formatted it's hard to tell. You can set the caption's Keep Options to Start Paragraph in *Next Frame". That way each paragraph will start in the next frame in the thread.
    – Wolff
    Feb 9, 2022 at 10:34
  • 1
    No, I have hundreds of images, that will be added to and edited regularly. Need a method to procedurally and reliably complete this. Again, appreciate your time and responses.
    – TFitzG
    Feb 9, 2022 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


I believe for InDesign to understand the correct order of the image captions to use in a table of contents, you need to have the text frames linked together. This will also make it possible to use automatic numbering.

We've discussed just linking the text frames with the captions, but it turns out to be too messy to work with. The captions might shift so they aren't below the corresponding images.

I propose having the images part of the text flow as well. When pasted into a text frame they become Anchored Objects.

There are some disadvantages to this method, but the big advantage is that if you remove or add an image, all the other images will automatically flow into place.

If all images are the same size, as you show in your sketch, it should be pretty easy to create a tight set of text frames to hold both the images and the captions.

In your case you'll need 4 horizontal text frames per page with each 3 columns. They should be linked together.

Make a paragraph style for the paragraph containing the image and a paragraph style for the caption.

The size of the frames makes sure the positioning is correct. If your captions can be several lines, you might need to use Keep Options to force the image paragraph to always start in the next column.

Alternatively, you could also just use one big text frame and have a "spacer" paragraph style set to Span All Columns to make the "line breaks". This is however a bit unstable and buggy in my experience. Doesn't always behave as expected.

You should consider using Object Styles for the text frame and the anchored images, so you can easily adjust the layout automatically. I won't go into details with this here.

  • Excellent, thanks Wolff. I also went back and tried linking the text frames, using the keep function of the paragraph style. It seems odd to me to link the text in this way, it can flow into other text boxes. But, I have to say it is not too much extra work and it does solve my issue nicely. Thanks again.
    – TFitzG
    Feb 11, 2022 at 17:28
  • Cool! Did you also paste in the images as anchored objects? Takes a little extra work to set everything up, but once it works it's actually a nice and tidy way to do it. Way easier if you do it to begin with. Remember to accept the answer at some point if you think it answers your question.
    – Wolff
    Feb 11, 2022 at 17:33

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