Help me with unusual Microsoft Word auto-numbering
June 15, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I need help auto-numbering my section headings in Microsoft Word. I know how to do auto-numbering in general. The trick is to have the section numbers not reset after each higher level heading.

The outline I want to have will look something like this (chapter=heading level 1, section=heading level 2):

-Chapter I. [Title]
--Section 1.[Title]
--Section 2. [Title]
-Chapter II. [Title]
--Section 3. [Title]
--Section 4. [Title]

Is there a way to have the section numbers continuously increase across chapters automatically? I can manually tell e.g., section 3 to start counting at 3, but that doesn't work if I later add a third section to chapter 1.
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you using a multi-level list? This is different from the regular autonumbering. Here are instructions on how to create a multilevel list (Word 2007, but it looks the same in 2010 in my experience).
posted by desjardins at 10:40 AM on June 15, 2011

Auto-numbering is pretty flexible, but what you're describing seems contradictory (leaving aside the discussion of why subparts of a container - sections of a chapter - would have continuous numbering, which doesn't quite make sense to me...) If you inserted a third section into Chapter I, what would you expect it to be called? If the answer to that is, "Section 3" (since that comes after "Section 2"), what would you expect to have happen to the existing Section 3? Have the same name?

Also: attach the numbering to the paragraph style, rather than rely on the auto-numbering for a list. That should help, regardless of your desired outcome.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2011

If I inserted a section 3 under chapter I, I would expect that the current section 3 would increase in number to section 4.

For an example of this style, look at the table of contents to Heidegger's Being and Time. You'll note that the paragraph/section numbers don't reset after each chapter. This is advantageous from a scholarly perspective because you can just refer to, e.g., section 18 rather than having to specify both the chapter and section.
posted by philosophygeek at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2011

No time to dig deep, but if it's Word 2007 or above, try this: Right click on the first item that's not numbering correctly and choose "Continue numbering."
posted by LonnieK at 12:05 PM on June 15, 2011

I have not done this particular type of numbering, but this article (or this one for Word older than 2007) might have some answers. Have you considered a chapter.section type of style (like 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2)? This would still allow you to concisely refer to Section 1.1 etc.
posted by thewildgreen at 12:17 PM on June 15, 2011

I just tested this on Word 2007.

1. Create two new styles (say, chapter and section) and set their numbering the way you want (I, II, III... for the chapters and 1, 2, 3... for the sections).
2. Apply the 'chapter' style to the chapter headings.
3. Apply the 'section' style to the section headings.

By default, the numbering is set to be continuous for each unlinked style, so you'll get the desired result this way.
posted by thewildgreen at 12:34 PM on June 15, 2011

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