How to create consequitive, non-list numbering system in Word?
June 9, 2013 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I am working with long Word documents with many footnotes and appended documents. Most footnotes contain "See Appendix [#]" and the "#" is manually entered. Is it possible to create a system in which subsequent appendix numbers auto-populate to 'previous # + 1', similar to 'above cell + 1' in Excel?

More context, if it is helpful.

The structure of a footnote, if it refers to an appended document, is: [Footnote number (Automated by Word)] [Citation information]. See Appendix No. [# (Manually entered)].

The manual entry of numbers is annoying and inefficient when an appendix reference has to be inserted anywhere but the end of the document and the 500 subsequent numbers have to be manually adjusted +1.

Using Word, is there a way to automate the numbers to avoid the tedious work? Perhaps using form fields?
posted by Kingsk to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
There are several ways, but the one that will require the least formatting in your case is probably to use Bookmarks.

Define your Appendix number ("Appendix 1") and select the Insert tab. Click "Bookmarks" and make one (name it "App1" or the like). Do the same for your other appendices.

Now put the cursor in the footnote after "See". Click on the References tab and click "Cross-reference". In the "Reference Type" drop-down window, scroll down to "Bookmark", then make sure the "Insert reference to:" drop-down is set to "Bookmark text". Select the appropriate bookmark, click Insert, click Close.

If that doesn't work, MeMail me and I'll try to talk you through it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2013

my snarky answer is: use LaTeX.

But, if you can't figure out how to do it the Etrigan described, I'd do something like this:

1. Put a big note on the title page to fill in appendix numbers before it's delivered.
2. At each place you need to enter an appendix number, use a placeholder, something easily searchable, like "###AppendixNumber###"
3. Once you have your final draft, or at least you know all the appendices exist and are in the right order, search the document for each appendix number tag and replace it with the right number.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:23 PM on June 9, 2013

Apologies if I'm missing nuances in what you're looking to do, but can you use numbered headings for your appendices and then insert cross references to each appendix heading?
posted by kittydelsol at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm with kittydelsol. When you move the appendix, the cross references should update.
posted by b33j at 6:10 PM on June 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far, folks. I hadn't known about cross-referencing and bookmarking in Word before; it's good to know the feature exists.

There are some snowflake details about the documents I'm working with I hadn't realized would be relevant until testing your answers, so I'm updating with a few notes:
- The placeholder method cupcake1337 described is the most efficient way I've found so far and am currently using
- A colleague also suggested LaTeX as a solution; unfortunately, this isn't feasible for our work environment because of training time and billable hours, etc.
- The documents ('reports') are split into multiple files (e.g. sections of the report body might be one file and the index of appendices in another) for many reasons I can't work around
- I got a combination of Etrigan and kittydelsol's suggestions to work in a file containing some body text and the index of appendices (bookmarked the numbered list of appendices and cross-referenced in the footnote), but because of the aforementioned splitting up into various files this won't hold for the full report

So I think the solution I'm looking for, if it exists, would need to look something like numbering the first placeholder, and each subsequent placeholder updating to +1 the previous placeholder. If anyone has any other suggestions they would be greatly appreciated!
posted by Kingsk at 4:46 PM on June 10, 2013

ok, thinking about this a little more, given your update: Word also has link text. in fact, you can link to an Excel spreadsheet. so i think what you can do is keep the Excel file open whenever you're editing the document, and make the appendix numbers linked to cells in Excel. Then, in Excel you can use formulas to do +1. then, when you need to add a reference in the middle of two you've already done, insert a row (assuming you're going down a column for your numbers) update the formulas, then update the links, and the idea is they will recognize that you've inserted a row, and will still reference their respective cells.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:22 PM on June 11, 2013

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