Home > Word > (Automatic) Numbering Using Fields in Word 2010

(Automatic) Numbering Using Fields in Word 2010

30/08/2011

The other day a colleague of mine had a question about numbering. She was writing a rather long document and wanted to do (or have) few things in her document:

1. To number paragraphs automatically,

2. To start numbering from a given paragraph number.

How? It is easy. Let see how to do that.

First, let me explain a little more about Fields and associated options. There are not many of them and knowing fields better will help you creating better documents and save your time.

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Here is the document and I want each article to have its own number, starting from number four (4). I also want Word to number paragraphs automatically when I copy/paste the text “Article 4” by increasing number 4 by 1 (one).

Sure, I can copy/paste the text “Article 4” and change the value manually. But what would happen if I had a hundred (200) articles and wanted to delete Article 9? I would have to correct all remaining values to correct sequence number: I would have to make 91 corrections. And I would have to do that each and every time I add or delete an article.

Imagine what would you have to do if Word was lacking its page numbering feature? I don’t want even to think about it. You would have to manually correct page numbers every time you add or delete a page. That’s exactly the same. (Believe it or not, I remember typing on a typewriter and making a mistake, adding and throwing pages away, making corrections and typing into the night…)

I can’t use Numbering feature here because the text would look like this:

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Fortunately there are Fields to ease our tasks, to automate and enhance documents. There are lot of them, and and we are going to meet some. This time the ones that deal with numbering.

To have auto numbering feature automatically update a number we need to insert Field first.

1. Type a text, for example, Article, and press Space to separate the word from the field.

2. Go to Insert tab, click Quick Parts and choose Field…

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This opens the Field dialog box:

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This dialog box has two parts:

1. Narrower part on the left, where you choose a field from a list of available fields. On the top there is Categories pull-down menu that can help you narrow down the field list. Description is on the bottom.

2. Wider part on the right, where you can change Field Properties of the selected field.

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Word 2010 has 9 field categories and 77 fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Numbering category to filter and display fields that are related to numbering.

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Take a look at the Field Names on the left. Have you noticed something familiar? No? Take look again.

AutoNum is selected and first in the list that look familiar. Click on Page field. Familiar too? Yes! These features you were using are Fields actually!

Numbering and Page Numbers are fields and we were using them without even noticing!

Like two mentioned before, you’ve heard of other well known fields: table of contents, total number of pages, outlined numbered lists, date and time, index and tables, mail merge and others. In fact, all Fields have a shared feature (guess what Winking smile): they are updated automatically!

Two examples are shown below:

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Back to our Field dialog box.

On the left click ListNum. This is the field we were looking for and it has some “switches” and “levers” we can pull to make some adjustments to fit our needs.

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Now you have Field Properties and Field Options. Field Codes button on bottom left is used to reveal Field Codes of the selected field. Fields are, essentially, data placeholders and Field Codes define what data fields are made of and what kind of data is filled and updated in it.

When pressed, Field Codes button changes to Hide Codes button and reveals Advanced Field Properties that displays (1) Field Codes for the field, (2) field syntax, and (3) Options… button. SNAGHTML230fa9

Options button reveals Options dialog box specific for the chosen field where you can adjust its various options.

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Dialog box on the left displays Field Option specific to ListNum field.

Different fields have different field options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four different Field Properties control type of numbering displayed in the document:

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In combination with Level in the list Field Options, the results are as follows:

List Name

(none)

LegalDefault

NumberDefault

OutlineDefault

Level in the list=OFF

1)

1.

1)

I.

Level in the list=1

1)

1.

1)

I.

Level in the list=2

a)

1.1.

a)

A.

Level in the list=3

i)

1.1.1.

i)

1.

Level in the list=4

(1)

1.1.1.1.

(1)

a)

Level in the list=5

(a)

1.1.1.1.1.

(a)

(1)

Level in the list=6

(i)

1.1.1.1.1.1.

(i)

(a)

Level in the list=7

1.

1.1.1.1.1.1.1.

1.

(i)

Level in the list=8

a.

1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.

a.

(a)

Level in the list=9

i.

1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.

i.

(i)

 

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If selected, fields are highlighted in gray color.

 

 

 

imageLeft-click on the field you’ve just entered displays menu with two options related to field: Edit Field… and Toggle Field Codes.

Toggle Field Codes has its keyboard shortcut for faster switching between field codes and text: SHIFT+F9. When field code is shown in the document you can type directly in the field and change its values, without opening Field dialog box. That way, changing field values and adjusting it to fit your needs, is faster.

IMPORTANT: Field codes have their syntaxes. If the syntax is not correct, the field won’t update and, eventually, work. Make sure you don’t leave some extra spaces or letters after editing, and add space between brackets and text if its needed. Just make sure that the syntax is correct.

Finally, here is the option that will solve our problem: Start-at value. If you check this option and enter a number, Word starts counting from that number. It works only with positive numbers and negative numbers don’t have any effect.

If you have not typed any text yet, take a look at my post about generating dummy text.

1. Generate some text to practice if you want to, but you don’t need any. It works fine on blank page, too.

2. Type a text before a paragraph, for example, Article, and press Space to separate the word from the field.

3. Go to Insert tab, click Quick Parts and click Field…

4. On the left, in Categories pull-down menu, click Numbering.

5. Under Field Names, click ListNum.

6. In the middle, under ListName, click LegalDefault.

7. On the right, under Field Options, select Start-at value: checkbox and type value 4 in the space provided.

8. Click OK.

There it is! You have created a field with an automatic numbering feature turned on. Now, if you click onto number 4 it will be highlighted grey. Press SHIFT+F9 and Word will reveal field codes for the selected field. It looks like this: Article { LISTNUM  LegalDefault \s 4 }

Press SHIFT+F9 again and it will switch back to Article 4. text.

Wait! Just few steps more and we’re done:

1. Select Article 4. text and copy it to clipboard (CTRL+C, for example).

2. Paste it in the next line or before some other paragraph, if you practice on text (CTRL+V).

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3. Click on number 4 in “Article 4.” text

4. Right-click on Field and click Edit Field…

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5. Un-check Start-at value checkbox.

6. Click OK.

What happened? It displays “Article 5.” now!

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Now you can select “Article 5.” text and paste it around as many times as you want. Each time you paste it, it will increase its number by 1. If you delete any field(s) or add field(s), Word will update its number. You don’t have to update manually article numbers anymore because Word and fields are doing it for you.

If you want to break the sequence and start at different number just repeat what you have done before (steps 2. to 8.) and Word will start numbering from the number you typed in.

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Take a look at other fields, you might find something useful to use at your workplace.

Good luck!

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