Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering

Automatic paragraph numbering is a great feature ... until it goes all wonky. Then, it becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

But mastering this feature opens up all sorts of possibilities for automating parts of your documents like multi-level numbered headers and cross-references between paragraphs (like "see Section 3.01"). Take a look at the illustrations below, pick the type of automatic paragraph numbering you're having trouble with, and begin learning how to troubleshoot existing numbering and how to create numbering schemes of your own you can use repeatedly in your documents!​

Example 1: Inline paragraph numbering

This is just your standard, basic paragraph numbering. But if you've tried to use the default one in Word, you've probably found it not to your liking. Either the indentation's not right, or you need spacing between paragraphs, or something.

Fortunately, it's possible to not just adjust the default style but also to create your own customized numbering scheme!

Example 2: Numbering with text

Need multi-level numbering with text before (or after) the numbers, but you don't need to eventually create an automated Table of Contents? This paragraph numbering scheme also allows you to reference the previous level's numbers (check out "Sections" above).

Example 3: Numbered headings

What's the difference between Example 3 above and Example 2 earlier? In Example 3, the numbering is embedded into Headings, a special kind of Style that imparts an outline structure to your document. This allows (among other things) creation of an automated Table of Contents.

Saving your numbering schemes for future use

Now we start leveraging the power of List Styles, which will allow you even more formatting choices plus the ability to name your List Style and transfer it to another document. 

The most sophisticated, complex and powerful multi-level paragraph numbering scheme opens up  all sorts of formatting and automation possibilities. It involves a key "under the hood" formatting option that's not even on the Ribbon! I'll show you how to access and use it.

Get the downloadable version of the entire Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering series!

Keep these tips  handy at your desk and bookmark the ones most applicable to your situation. This downloadable PDF is a great resource!