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Word multilevel list headings not working

Posted on 2014-02-09
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Last Modified: 2014-04-09
Hello,

After setting up a multilevel numbering list style (or whatever the correct terminology is) by following the instructions here:

http://shaunakelly.com/word/numbering/numbering20072010.html

What would prevent new lines from automatically entering the next number? Actually, the new line does not even keep the same heading since the cursor goes all the way back to the left margin and Styles switches to Normal. Here's an example that hopefully explains what I'm talking about:

Suppose you set up your outline headings to look like this — with the bracketed content not seen but showing the heading level (and Style) of its respective row:
------------------------------------------------------------
[Heading 1]        I.    
[Heading 2]                A.    
[Heading 3]                        1.    |
[Heading 4]                                a.    
[Heading 5]                                        and so on...
------------------------------------------------------------
and suppose the vertical bar at the end of the third line represents the location of your mouse cursor.

Pressing the Enter key should give the following, right?
------------------------------------------------------------
[Heading 1]        I.    
[Heading 2]                A.    
[Heading 3]                        1.    
[Heading 3]                        2.    |
[Heading 4]                                a.    
[Heading 5]                                        and so on...
------------------------------------------------------------
where the new line is at the same heading level [Heading 3] and the new number follows in sequence from the prior heading at that level.

However, pressing the Enter key in my case results in this:
------------------------------------------------------------
[Heading 1]        I.    
[Heading 2]                A.    
[Heading 3]                        1.    
[Normal]      |
[Heading 4]                                a.    
[Heading 5]                                        and so on...
------------------------------------------------------------
where the cursor goes all the way back to the left margin and the Styles menu shows that it switched from [Heading 3] to [Normal]. Every level behaves the same way. It's like it doesn't know to remain at the same Heading.

The file is attached.

Thanks

Headings-B.docx
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Question by:WeThotUWasAToad
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by:Carol Chisholm
Carol Chisholm earned 250 total points
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Headings are normally only one line, followed by a Normal paragraph.
If you want a list with no Normal text, you should modify the Heading styles and set the "Style for following paragraph" to something other than Normal.

Heading 1 would have "Style for following paragraph" as Heading 2 and so on.

If you don't want to change style you can use Shift-Enter to make a new line in the same paragraph (and style)
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by:Carol Chisholm
Carol Chisholm earned 250 total points
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There are also the list paragraph Styles  that you can use, (they are generated by using the bullet or numbering buttons, But they don't come with the built-in indenting and structured numbering.

It might be a good idea to make your modifications in a template specific to your project as you will change the default functionality of Word quite a lot and you might not want to change the Normal template.
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by:teylyn
teylyn earned 150 total points
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Hello,

Click the View Ribbon > Outline

Now you can create the outline of headings and hitting Enter will behave as you expect, i.e. increase the number of the current heading level.

cheers, teylyn
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
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These are great comments. Thank you.

"Headings are normally only one line, followed by a Normal paragraph."
I agree, that is the case for many documents. But what about something like a legal document in which every paragraph is numbered? How are they created? I can't imagine that with every press of the Enter key (ie every new paragraph), the user is required to Click a heading from the Styles list in order to apply the correct numbering and formatting, etc. — especially when there is no change from the previous paragraph.


"…modify the Heading styles and set the "Style for following paragraph" to something other than Normal."
I have not used this before so thanks for mentioning it. It does cause the new line to be inserted as a heading and, as you pointed out, which of the headings to use can be defined (eg same as previous, next level down, etc.)


"…you can use Shift-Enter to make a new line in the same paragraph (and style)"
This is also something I did not know before but the drawback I see (after trying it a few times) is that, while it does maintain the same Heading (Style), it does not enter numbering. That's obviously not a drawback if you want to begin a new un-numbered paragraph under the current heading but it does not help in specifically what I'm looking for.


"Click the View Ribbon > Outline"
You are right; that View option does exactly what I'm after. I've used Outline view extensively but it introduces some other issues which are problematic (for me at least).


I will have to keep looking and hopefully other suggestions will be included in this thread. My goal is to hopefully find a way to retain the benefits that come with using Headings & Styles, etc., but also have the typical features present in simple* outlines (eg Enter key to auto-insert the next correct number, Tab key to adjust a line to the next Heading level or Shift+Tab to adjust up to the preceding level, and others).

Thanks again

*By simple outlines I mean the type that are automatically created if in a Word document, you begin a paragraph with "1.". In that case, it always seems to jump to the right and insert hanging formatting, etc., for that paragraph. And then when the Enter key is pressed, it automatically inserts the next number (eg "2."). And if the Tab key is pressed, it automatically jumps further to the right and changes the numbering to "a.".
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by:Carol Chisholm
Carol Chisholm earned 250 total points
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You can achieve this by using modified headings
In Heading 1 set next paragraph style to Heading 2
In Heading 2 set next paragraph style to Heading 3 etc

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to activate the heading styles, this is much better than using the mouse. In Modify Style look in in the format menu and you will see Shortcut key

You can also create copies of styles, so you could create a Heading 1 Continued style that gives you Heading 1 paragraphs until you change.

If you are going to do a lot of work with Word you might want to buy a book of follow an online course, you will save  a lot of time.
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teylyn earned 150 total points
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I'm still not clear about what you want to achieve, in principle.

Within a Word document, do you want to have a numbered list?

Or do you want to have an outline of headings?

Because a numbered list (with multi-levels) will behave different from an outline of headings.

A multi-level numbered list will ALWAYS give you the same level, incremented by one, when you hit enter. You then just hit the TAB key to indent to the next level, or you hit the Shift-Tab to return to the previous level.

Since Word does not and CAN NOT know if the next line is to be the next number of the same level or an indented child line of the current level, the "workaround" with the Tab key is a small sacrifice.

A multi-level numbered list will not default to "Normal" on the next paragraph.

However, if you use the Outline functionality of Word, the expectation is that you want to outline a flow of chapters with major and minor headings, using the heading styles Word provides.

Again, (in Outline view) you can use the TAB and Shift-TAB keys to quickly indent or out-dent a new paragraph, but no software will be able to guess whether the next paragraph should be an increment of the last paragraph number or an indented child of the last paragraph.

Therefore:

I do understand your frustration, but I feel that it is rather a training issue than a software fault.

If you use Heading styles, the default Word behaviour is to have "Normal" as the next paragraph style,  because headings are headings. Which means they are just titles preceding  one or more paragraphs of normal text. Therefore, any Word heading style will be succeeded by the Normal style.

If you don't want that behaviour (i.e. Normal style following a multi-level numbered style), then don't use headings.

Again: in this case, don't use heading styles.

Instead, create a multi-level list.

Select (or customize and refine) the styles for the list, and make sure you don't use any heading styles (which by default are followed by "Normal")

Then start entering your list values.

If you want to proceed from level 1 to level 2, just hit Enter
If you want to proceed from level 1 to level 1.1, hit Enter and Tab
If you want to move from level 5.4.3.1 to level 5.4.4, hit enter and then Shift-Tab

What you describe as your desired outcome can be achieved, but it requires a little compromise (since Wort cannot guess what your intentions are and may need an extra key stroke) and a little upskilling (heading styles versus multi-level list styles)

cheers, teylyn
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by:DrTribos
DrTribos earned 100 total points
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If you set your Heading 1 so that is followed by Heading 2 (and so on) as suggested above.  Then when you press enter at the end of your headings you will get:
Heading 1
Heading 2
Heading 3 etc.

Now... if you want to have several headings of the same type you can use a trick like this:

Heading 1 HeadingText|*      
* = a space at the end of the heading text
| = cursor position when you press enter

Now when you press enter you are splitting the paragraph in 2 instead of creating a new paragraph after the existing paragraph.  The result will be:

Heading 1 HeadingText
Heading 1 *

HTH
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
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Thanks for the additional comments.

I guess I didn't really recognize that there's a difference between headings and a multi-level list but I do now thanks to the explanations. Maybe the best thing would be to respond to this sentence:
"I'm still not clear about what you want to achieve, in principle."
The best scenario for what I'm after would include the following (in order of highest  priority):

1) auto-numbering/lettering/bulleting (NLB) for new lines when the Enter key is pressed
2) adjustment of levels by pressing Tab or Shift-tab (or something just as simple)
3) auto-adjusting of NLB when a line is deleted or inserted, etc.
4) a straightforward method for setting and changing the NLB scheme (eg indent, formatting, etc.)
5) reliable changing of all content at a given level by changing one row and clicking "Update style to match current selection"
6) ability to insert non-outline styles without affecting NLB
7) collapse and expand ability
8) toggle back and forth between Print Layout & Outline view without losing any outline-structure integrity
9) an end to all war, violence, hunger & prejudice throughout the world
10) an inexhaustible, nonpolluting and cheap source of energy

The last two items are not necessarily lower in priority than the others but I tacked them on at the end thinking that, with the convoluted gemisch of settings, terminology, menus and options, etc., I've been through over the years trying to figure this out, for anyone who can successfully combine the first eight items into a single document,* #'s 9 & 10 would be a snap.  :P

Thanks

* You wouldn't even need to spend a bunch of time explaining it. Just include a sample as an attachment and I will be off and running. ;)
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Assisted Solution

by:DrTribos
DrTribos earned 100 total points
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0. If you followed Shauna Kelly's tutorial then you've already (IMHO) found the best and simplest way of setting up your headings.

1. Use Style for next para to define what happens when you press enter at the end of the para BUT bear in mind that if there is a space or text after the cursor then you will create a new paragraph with the same style.

2. You can use the buttons indent / outdent or goto View and change to outline and you will see Promote & Demote buttons.

3. Word should do this automagically when heading styles are setup correctly.  Just make sure you are not restarting numbering...

4. See 0 (don't forget this is MS Word you are talking about...)

5. Don't, well I wouldn't.  Use edit style instead and turn of the auto update feature. It sucks (IMHO).

6. Non outline styles should not interfere with heading numbers. Make sure they are applied using the styles menu.  If they are interferring then use the style inspector to see if it really is a non outline style (e.g. it could be an outline style with formatting removed)

7. Use outline view - View > Document View > Ouline

8. Document should not change due to toggling of view.  How is it changing?

9. & 10. Not my department
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by:Carol Chisholm
Carol Chisholm earned 250 total points
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Word is incredibly flexible and VERY powerful in this area.
You can do almost any document with it.

BUT you need to understand, you are the human controlling the computer.

But you need to be clear what you want to do, and which tool you need for it.
Once you have set up your headings, shortcut keys  (i am sure you need headings) and outline view.

Numbered Lists will not appear in tables of contents (you don't mention them).
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by:teylyn
teylyn earned 150 total points
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Hello We[...]Toad,

I trust the other experts answered the subject matter. I will pass on your suggestions to the development team at Microsoft. That does not mean you should get your hopes up, though.

Some things that may feel easy and natural to some of us, in a given setting, actually require keeping a lot of juggling balls in the air while the juggler needs to add new stunts to the act,  if I may use that analogy.

What I'm trying to say is that each bit of "new" functionality can only be implemented if it is compatible to "old" functionality and does not break it.  I don't know exactly what algorithm Microsoft uses to evaluate whether or not to implement new functionality, but these three definitely feature prominently:

- does it break existing functionality?
- what percentage of users will find it useful?
- how much does it cost to develop and implement?

Even with top marks in all three, an implementation in the next version is not a given, since there may be many other factors governing the deliverables for the next release.

Therefore, it is very important to collect the real end user's experience and suggestions for improvement. These will be little weights on on set of scales.

Keep them coming.

cheers, teylyn
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
Comment Utility
Here's some screenshots which may be helpful:

When I open a new email in Outlook and enter a number or letter followed by a period and space, it automatically switches to some type of outlining mode and displays the little lightning tooltip (Figs. 1 & 2). (The same thing used to happen in new Word docs but I must have changed some setting because Word no longer behaves that way.)

Fig. 1Fig. 2In the email, it also automatically applies sequential numbering and indentation automatically as I press Enter and/or Tab. And once created, any row can easily be demoted or promoted by pressing Tab or Shift+Tab.

Next, if the numbered outline from Outlook is Copy/Pasted into a new Word doc, it appears basically the same (Fig. 3). However, every single level is assigned to the style, "List Paragraph". How are you expected to make changes in a given level's formatting with that being the case?

Fig. 3The good news is that as new lines are created or inserted (blue in Fig. 4), they appear with the correct level characteristics and subsequent numbering is altered appropriately.

Fig. 4In the past, I've tried to use this basic or default outline as a starting point from which to modify the numbering & indent scheme but always run into problems. In other words, this method satisfies priority items #1, #2 & #3 from my previous post but fails miserably in item #4 and each subsequent item.

Thanks
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Assisted Solution

by:Carol Chisholm
Carol Chisholm earned 250 total points
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The Word templates for e-mails and documents are different.
You must understand templates to master this. turn on paragraph markers (wou need to know about these too.
Turn OFF autoupdate for all styles

Use Style - Modify to solve 4. But you MUST know which template you are working in.

4) a straightforward method for setting and changing the NLB scheme (eg indent, formatting, etc.)
turn on paragraph markers (wou need to know about these too.The formatting information is stored in the end of paragraph marker. If you select the whole paragraph or the end of the paragraph you will change the whole paragraph


5) reliable changing of all content at a given level by changing one row and clicking "Update style to match current selection"

This will work as long as you have applied the styles to the paragraphs and not to bits of text inside paragraphs.


6) ability to insert non-outline styles without affecting NLB
 ditto

7) collapse and expand ability
Use outline view. (This is a VIEW and does not change your doc)

8) toggle back and forth between Print Layout & Outline view without losing any outline-structure integrity

Print Layout and Outline view do not modify the document but they MAY affect the WHSIWYG (what you see is what you get) depending on your screen size and resolution : sometimes to fit all the extra information on a small screen the text wrapping has to be changes.

Shift-F1 shows you the effective formatting.

But you do need a solid grounding in the subject, which you will not get here. I do recommend a book or a course.

Don't switch between Outlook and Word - Outlook templates are for emails (short and quick), Word templates are for fully-fledged documents.
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
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Success!

It’s been years coming but thanks to:

    • the comments in this and several past threads,
    • Shauna Kelly's great site and
    • some doggedly persistent googling,

I believe I've finally found all of the required pieces to get an MS Word numbered outline to function as I want. I did not anticipate it was even possible at the time of my earlier post, but as far as I can tell, the attached file satisfies all eight of the items listed there.

By the way, to avoid forgetting them, the attachment includes the steps I followed and some notes — arranged of course, in a nice orderly & numbered outline. :)  I even discovered Outline- & Print Layout-view shortcut icons for the QAT which I will be using frequently from now on.

Thanks a bunch to all who have contributed. I am indebted.

2014-02-12-Custom-Outline-Number.docx
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Author Closing Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
Comment Utility
Many thanks
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