One of the harder things to do in Adobe InDesign, surprisingly for a page layout tool, is to create multilevel or outline format numbered lists.  The right way to accomplish this, according to the folks at Adobe, is to create a Style for every level of the list you’d like to have! Here are Adobe’s instructions on how to do so (This content is taken directly from https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/bullets-numbering.html#create_multi_level_lists):
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To create a running list—a list that is interrupted by other paragraphs or that spans multiple stories or documents—create a paragraph style and apply the style to paragraphs that you want to be part of the list. For example, to create a running list of the tables in your document, create a paragraph style called Tables, make a defined list part of the style, and then apply the Tables paragraph style to all paragraphs you want in your Table list.
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 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.
Because this document has facing pages, we want to insert page numbers on both the left and right pages. For now, navigate to the bottom-right corner of the right-hand page by zooming in (Ctrl + [Windows] or Cmd + [Mac]). Select the Type Tool (T) from the Tools Panel (Window > Tools) and drag to create a small text frame, resting the top of the frame against the margin.
In this video we're going to look at starting your page numbering, not from 1, you can see, we started A, B, C, D, and 1 actually starts on page 5. That means we can have a Contents page, and a Cover that don't get included in the page number. That's going to help us with a couple of things, like our Contents page. Otherwise our first bit of text is going to start on page 5. That's not true, it's on 1. It's kind of true. Anyway, let's go and look at setting out our page numbers.
I’m unable to access Numbering & Section Options from the Master page (it’s greyed out). I had already manually ‘told’ all the files in my Book where to start, using the Numbering & Section Options from the Layout toolbar (I didn’t know it could be done through the Pages menu). They still show up in the Book listing as starting from page 1, though. I had to juggle between the Document Setup on the File toolbar and the …Options from Layout to get the page numbers to come right. As I have a lot of illustrations throughout the Book, I’d like to have the correct page numbers come up so I can easily find and acknowledge them.
To include numbering prefixes from higher levels, enter text or click at the start of the Number box and choose Insert Number Placeholder and then select a Level option (for example, Level 1), or enter ^ and then the list level (for example, enter ^1). In a list with first levels numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on, and second levels numbered a, b, c, and so on, including the first-level prefix in the second level renders second-level numbers as 1a, 1b, 1c; 2a, 2b, 2c; 3a, 3b, 3c.
The first step is to figure out the desired look for the list, then the spacing that will be needed between the numbers and the text. For this example, I decided on larger, bolder numbers using a serif font. I created one line of text with the numbers "00." keyed in manually and styled. Zeros are used because they are almost always the widest numerals. Two zeros were used because the items in the list are more than nine, so they will span to double digits. From the rulers, the approximate spacing can now be determined. This line of text will be deleted once the Paragraph Style has been created.
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If you’re producing any kind of numbered items in-house that are multiple-up on a sheet where you need to control all the variables to meet your production needs, the autonumbering feature through numbered lists is the way to go! Just step and repeat away & InDesign will do all the work. No need to fool with a seperate “numbers” file or deal with a data merged document. I think it’s by far the best option for basic numbering.
I’m unable to access Numbering & Section Options from the Master page (it’s greyed out). I had already manually ‘told’ all the files in my Book where to start, using the Numbering & Section Options from the Layout toolbar (I didn’t know it could be done through the Pages menu). They still show up in the Book listing as starting from page 1, though. I had to juggle between the Document Setup on the File toolbar and the …Options from Layout to get the page numbers to come right. As I have a lot of illustrations throughout the Book, I’d like to have the correct page numbers come up so I can easily find and acknowledge them.

i’ve had to do tons of this lately and found that for the amounts of tickets being done (e.g. 7000 x 10 tickets + cover & mailer) that chuckT’s solution almost 2 years ago is similar to what i use. would be interested to know if others doing similar VDP are using a wholly indesign/excel solution, or if specific VDP software such as XMPie are being used.

Help! Having a problem. I realize this is for CS5, which may be the issue. I’m working in CS6, and when I do this, it changes page 1 to a right-side page, completely affecting all of the spreads. I’ve tried to go into Document Setup to force it back, but it ends up making TWO right side pages for the first two pages! Perhaps a difference in versions, or maybe a bug?
Running captions number figures, tables, and other items consecutively in a document. For example, the first figure caption starts with the words “Figure 1,” the second with “Figure 2,” and so on. To make sure that figures, tables, or similar items are numbered consecutively, define a list for the item, and then create a paragraph style that includes the list definition. You can also add descriptive words such as “Figure” or “Table” to the numbering scheme of the paragraph style.
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