InDesign has a robust set of numbering tools, but most users don’t do much more than set up basic numbered lists. Yesterday, in my Advanced Adobe InDesign class, a student asked how to number her chapters, subheads, tables and figures. It can be done, but isn’t covered in our workbook. This blog shows one way to handle it.
The goal was to number the text to look like the screen shot shown below, and to automatically update the numbers during edits.
The trick is to look at the numbers as columns. I’ll sketch them on paper out for complex situations. Here’s how numbering properties look for each of these paragraph styles:
To understand this, you will need to understand the Bullets & Numbering dialog box, shown below. Let’s start with the settings for the Chapter title style. Note the list name (FM Numbering), the level (1), the format (1, 2, 3, 4…), the all-important numbering style (Chapter ^H: ), the mode (continue from previous number) and restart numbers at this level is on (and can’t be turned off for level 1).
Chapter title is the first level of numbering in this document, and “Chapter ^H: ” tells InDesign to type “Chapter 1: ” in front of the chapter title in the first chapter, “Chapter 2: ” in the second chapter, and so on.
Let’s move on to the Subhead 1 style. Note the same list name (FM Numbering), the level designation (now it’s a 2), the number (^H.^2.^t) and that restart numbers at this level is on after any previous level.
Subhead 1 is the second level of numbering in this document, and “^H.^2.^t” tells InDesign to type the chapter number (^H), a period (.), the subhead number (^2) and a tab (^t) in front of the each Subhead 1, “1.1, 1.2, 1.3”. When set up as shown, the ^2 numbers will increment automatically.
On to Subhead 2. This one looks exactly like the settings for Subhead 1, but the level is now 3, and the number style “^H.^2.^3^t” is now calling in the level 3 number, i.e., “1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, etc.”
In my student’s document, the tables and figures only appear after Subhead 2s, so the formatting needs to look like this for the Table titles:
and this for the Figure titles:
Note that the list name remains the same for all of these tags. Table titles have a level 4 designation, and Figure titles have a level 5. The numbering style calls out the level 4 numbers (^4) on the Table titles, and the level 5 numbers (^5) for the Figure titles. It’s important to note that for this style, both of these restart after the level 3s (Subhead 2s).
In Summary, paragraph numbering is really just an exercise in logic, and this blog post is showing the numbering styles for a very specific project. Your project may be similar, but not exactly the same. You just need to think though the levels, the call-outs, and how you want to restart the numbers. I do my best to think it through correctly the first time, set it up, and then try as hard as I can to break it, so that I can find my errors. The good news is that once you get your numbers working, you shouldn’t ever have to think about it again.
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