25 September 2009

The styles functionality in Word provides the ability to quickly update formatting throughout a document. Things like adjusting the font size on all headings goes from a major undertaking to a minor inconvenience when styles are used properly. Styles can also be used to format lists easily so that numbering is applied automatically. Unfortunately, it can become quite convoluted when you want to have multiple outlines that have the same styles but restart.

The problem is that "restart numbering" is an ephemeral concept in Word, especially if you apply it through the interface. The "restart" property is easily deleted, and it appears to be randomly discarded as well. That can cause styled outlines that are pages apart tohave sequential numbering. The best non-programmatic solution is to put a physical restart field at the end of a list. There are other solutions, but this one works best with some usability improvements. The key field configuration was found here.


Part 1: Update the Outline Style

  1. Modify the style that includes your outline numbering (should be your first-level style to avoid problems)
  2. Open Bullets & Numbering at Format >> Numbering
  3. Select the Outline Numbered format and click Customize
  4. Click More to expose additional settings
  5. Select the first level of the outline in the Preview (should already be highlighted if you followed suggestion above)
  6. Place a unique name in the ListNum (ex: DemoList1)
  7. Click OK, then OK, then OK, to save the style.

Part 2: Create a "Restart Outline" Text Snippet

  1. Type [Restart Outline] somewhere in the document
  2. Put your cursor between "Restart" and "Outline"
  3. Insert >> Field
  4. Select Field Names: ListNum
  5. Under Field properties, select the List Name that you entered above: DemoList1
  6. Check Level in the list and enter 1
  7. Check Start-at value and enter 0
  8. Click OK
  9. Highlight [Restart Outline] and go to Format >> Font
  10. Change Font color to red, change Font Style to Bold, and check Hidden in the Effects (all are on the Font tab)
  11. Click OK  to close font properties (these can/should be done as a style)
  12. The text may have disappeared now - it will not be printed, but you can view/edit it by clicking the marks button ()

Using Your New Tool

  1. Click the marks button () once if you do not see symbols like that in your document
  2. Copy-paste the [Restart Outline] snippet to the end of each outline so that it is ready to number the next outline correctly

Why the Restart Outline Text and Styles

Without the hidden style, there will be visible characters. Without the [Restart Outline] text around the field, the field can be hard to find. By bolding/redding/wrapping the field when in markup view, it is much easier to maintain.

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