I seem to make my best discoveries about Microsoft Office when I’m annoyed. (See my last post, for example.) It’s that kind of annoyance that says, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” For some reason or another, this time it was paragraph numbering. But not the normal kind where you have the paragraph number indented about half an inch on the same line with the start of the paragraph. The document I was working on (a will) had the paragraph number floating centered above the paragraph. While I was drafting the document, I just knew the attorney I was working for would be moving paragraphs all over the place, and I didn’t want to stop to renumber them when he did.
I remembered one of the paralegals I work with telling me that it was possible to embed numbers in Styles. So I went nosing around in Styles, looking to modify my Heading 1 so that it had an automatically incrementing Arabic numeral and a period, like so:
So I right-clicked on the Heading 1, clicked Modify, and started looking for Numbering.
And here came the dreaded Bullets & Numbering dialog box:
It was at this point, frankly, that I felt a little twinge of fear. Or loathing. I’ve had my share of run-ins with Bullets & Numbering. In my experience, it’s easy to get these things all screwed up. However, desperate as I was to find a solution to my problem, I decided to take a stab at it. I picked the style indicated above; namely, the one with the Arabic numeral with a period after it.
Once I did that and clicked OK, I went back to the Modify Style dialog box and set about revising the Paragraph settings:
Obviously, not everybody’s going to want to use the same settings I did above, but the main thing I want you to notice is that I set the paragraph justification to “Centered”. That was what was going to get me a centered Arabic numeral in the middle of the line floating above the paragraph.
Once I clicked OK, I was back at the Modify Style dialog box, where I adjusted the font and size and turned off bold. I clicked OK again and went back to my document.
Now, any time I started a new numbered paragraph, all I needed to do was click on Heading 1 and I had my next paragraph number. Then I would press Enter (which would revert the Style of the text back to Normal) and start my paragraph.
The especially eagle-eyed among you will notice that Arabic numerals aren’t the only choice here. You can not only choose Roman numerals, you can also choose numbering sequences like “First”, which make this an interesting alternative to the technique I showed you in “How to automatically number your discovery requests … in 5 keystrokes“. There would be no need for the SEQ field code if you wanted to create just a single sequence.
So, what do you think? See any possibilities for using numbering in your heading Styles? Let me hear about them in the comments below.
(image: Horia Varlan @ Flickr http:[email protected]/4271972865/)