Word’s numbering explained (article contributed by John McGhie)
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3 Multiple Kinds of Numbering
Copyright © 2000 by the Microsoft Word MVPs.
3.2.3 Applied List Templates
Because you can customise your list templates, the list templates you actually apply
in a document often bear no relation to the list templates displayed in the
Format>Bullets and Numbering command.
Unfortunately, Word can have literally several hundreds of list definitions in a single
document. Some or all of these may be “applied” to the text. The Format>Bullets and
Numbering command can show you only the seven most-recently used in each of
the three categories.
3.3 Simple Lists
Now, somewhere in the document, let’s find a sequence of paragraphs in a
numbered list. Let’s say there are five of them, and they are paragraphs 43 to 48 in
the document. Each of them has a tag indicating that it is a member of a list, and a
pointer to list template 23, which formats that list.
Now for the exciting bit: There can be more than one list in the document. “Of course
there can,” you’re thinking. “Any technical manual has lots of little procedures
expressed as numbered steps. Maybe five to seven items in each, and maybe one list
every couple of pages.”
Oh if only it were that simple...
In Word, you can indeed have multiple lists. However, each “list” can have more
than two “ends.” That sounds absurd, right? That’s because it is...
Let’s take a typical technical procedure: ten pages and six sets of numbered steps.
The first three sets of numbered steps are all members of the same list. The list
restarts at “1” three times: at the first paragraph of each of the three sets of numbered
steps. The second three sets of numbered steps are also all members of the same list.
Again, they each restart at “1” on the first paragraph of each set of numbered steps.
To Word, that document contains two lists, not six.
The key distinction I am making is that the thing Word calls a numbered list is a
larger structure than that which you or I know as a numbered list. Word considers a
numbered list to be what you or I might describe as a “family” of numbered lists.
3.3.1 Illustration of Simple Lists
Think of a sporting goods shop that sells billiard balls. On one shelf, it has several
boxes of balls by one manufacturer. Each ball has a number painted on it, as billiard-
balls must have. On another shelf, the shop has more boxes of balls by a different
manufacturer. Moreover, on a third shelf, three boxes by yet another manufacturer.