Similar to the cross-reference feature of Word, how can I insert a cross-reference to a figure in Google Docs?

  • What exactly do you mean by a Figure? I cannot see that as something that can be inserted in Docs. I was thinking that perhaps you meant something that was labelled (eg "Figure 10") with a Caption (as per Word), but cannot see thing a option to do that. – MaryC.fromNZ Jul 13 '15 at 10:28
  • @MaryC.fromNZ Indeed I was looking for an in-built feature insert an automatic label to a given figure or image. Sadly this essential feature does not exist. – orschiro Jul 14 '15 at 7:53
  • In case anyone comes accross this post after 2018-2019, you can find an add-on which worked pretty well to me: google.com/url?q=https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/… – WallaceJack Feb 13 at 4:12

With my new Docs add-on, Cross Reference.

It's still in its infancy, but I will be adding more features and fixing some bugs shortly.

  • On my phone the link opens a webpage about extension s not the referred one. – Rubén Jun 16 '17 at 11:28
  • 2
    It links to the Google Docs Add-on store page... – DavidR Jun 16 '17 at 19:11

Short answer

At this time Google Docs doesn't have the cross-reference feature.


The above is based on my personal experience with Google Docs and that there is nothing relevant to cross-reference features on the official documentation. To find the official documentation, go the link on the references section.


Google Docs editors Help


I think the most similar way to achieve this is to create a bookmark and reference it whenever need it.

  • Insert bookmark before Table 1.

    Bookmark can be inserted from menu Insert > Bookmark

  • Go to the place where you want to refer Table 1

  • Type "Table 1", and select it to insert a link
  • Collapse Bookmark in the link dialog and select Table 1

This is not ideal, after all you have to type "Table 1" twice. But it does allow user to navigate within the document. Therefore somehow similar to cross reference.

  • Interesting workaround. Thank you Douglas! However, I would still have to change Table 1 to a different numbering if I insert a table before it, correct? – orschiro Apr 15 '16 at 6:44
  • 1
    Indeed, this doesn't give you auto numbering. But I assume you can use something more symbolic, like "Table - World Population", to avoid having to change the numbering. – Douglas Liu Apr 17 '16 at 15:41
  • Yes possibly. Depending, however, on the required citation style. – orschiro Apr 18 '16 at 7:22
  • I'm downvoting this because the whole point of a reference is to have the numbers generated automatically, should the document change in future. – ahorn Feb 3 at 7:38

Disclaimer: This is the official account of Docx2Latex

We have just launched a Google Docs-add on which combines the power of LaTeX and ease of word processors and cross-referencing too.

Here are the features provided by Docx2Latex add-On

  1. Write LaTeX code snippets inside Google Docs with syntax highlighting.
  2. Add captions to figures and tables.
  3. Cross-refer figures and tables.
  4. Auto update captions and references when a new figure or a table is inserted.
  5. View LaTeX compiled to PDF in real-time.
  6. Automatic LaTeX source code generation and free downloading.

Add-On Link: Docx2Latex Google Docs Add-on

Watch Demo: Short Demo

  • This seems to be really powerful, wow! – orschiro Mar 28 '18 at 8:18

Let's say you want to add a link to chapter 10 in table of contents (TOC).

Step 1 . Go to chapter 10. Select title, Select Insert option in menu. Insert bookmark.

Step 2. Go to table of contents page. Select text referring to chapter 10. From the menu, select Insert. Insert Link. Then select Bookmarks from the new menu that appears. Selcet bookmark specific to chapter 10. Done!

You can also edit the link text.

You can apply similar method to cross-reference images.


This may be a new feature but you can now add a link to a heading (right click pick link then click heading and scroll down to the relevant one)

Not sure it works exactly equivalent to Word's feature but it's something.

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