In the example I explained, I was using a list, but did it with un-linked text boxes using “continue from previous number” and “continue numbers across stories.” I’m guessing that there is no way to tell InDesign that even though there are 4 text boxes on the page, that there are two different lists? I’d probably have to just create two threaded stories for that scenario to work.
Defined lists are often used to track paragraphs for numbering purposes. When you create a paragraph style for numbering, you can assign the style to a defined list, and paragraphs are numbered in that style according to where they appear in the defined list. The first paragraph to appear is given number 1 (“Table 1”), for example, and the next paragraph is given number 2 (“Table 2”), even if it appears several pages later. Because both paragraphs belong to the same defined list, they can be numbered consecutively no matter how far apart they are in the document or book.
If you’re a self-taught InDesign user, you may not have been introduced to automatic page numbering, one of the biggest time-saving features in the program. InDesign allows you to set up the page numbering feature in your Master Pages. Then, as you add or shuffle pages, InDesign updates individual page numbers accordingly. You can style the page number any way you like.
Thanks for asking, but if you haven't done the Google search I suggested in post 1 of this thread and practiced with any of the tutorials at the linked resources there, or those recommended in posts 2 and 6, please do. Perhaps someone on the list will do the work you're requesting. As a trainer I feel my best value is to offer paths to solutions so folks can learn to use the tools. Some tools require more practice, but those are the ones that give the most pleasure of discovery at the "Aha!" moment that comes when one "gets it."
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.
Many Office programs will detect when you start a numbered or bulleted list and helpfully automate it, so that when you press Enter, new list items are automatically indented and bulleted or numbered. If this behavior isn’t actually all that helpful for you, and you’d rather control your own list-making without Office’s help, you can turn to your autocorrect options.
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Thanks for the head start on this, it got me part the way through my problem but I found that when I had 3 figures in a row then a map, the next figure would jump back to #.1 again. Because I had figures, maps and tables that needed to be numbered I used the ‘levels’ to differentiate between them as you suggested, but found if you create a new number list for each entry ie. number list for maps, and number list for tables etc then they don’t conflict. thanks for the start off though. no where else pointed it out as clearly as this. Cheers

Numbering in Word is a bit of a nightmare at times and if you need multi-level numbering this could cause you much stress if you rely on the mouse alone. Using the keyboard to some degree makes this task very simple. I will explain how to create a multi-levelled numbered list and ask you to keep all the default formatting that Word gives you. This can be changed and modified but sometimes it messes up your layout. I advise to use what is there until you have the times and patience to master its intricacies.
I find the numbered list feature to be completely confusing, even after reading Real World IDCS3. I just don’t seem to be able to wrap my brain around this feature…or maybe its just the dialogue box because the idea of list numbering makes perfect sense. I usually end up exhausting my vocabulary of not-very-nice words when I try to use this feature (and my vocabulary is fairly extensive).
A multi-level list is a list that describes hierarchical relationships between the list paragraphs. These lists are also called outline lists because they resemble outlines. The list’s numbering scheme (as well as indentations) show rank as well as how items are subordinate to one another. You can tell where each paragraph fits in the list with respect to the paragraphs before and after it. You can include up to nine levels in a multi-level list.
One of the easiest ways to begin applying numbers is by starting to type a numbered list. Word recognizes that you are creating a list and responds accordingly by converting text that you type into numbered items. The number scheme, delimiter characters that mark the beginning or end of a unit of data and formatting are all based on what you have typed.
An InDesign document can only have one chapter, and these chapters are typically combined in an InDesign book. To insert a chapter number, create a text frame where you want the chapter number to appear on either a document or master page. Click on the "Type" menu, then "Text Variables," "Insert Text Variable" and then "Chapter Number." Update the chapter number if necessary to keep your chapter numbers consecutive by clicking on "Numbering & Section Options" in the Layout menu.
When a designation such as "no.," "Nr.," "cat. no.," "Ed. Nr." appears with a plate number, do not consider it to be part of the number and do not record it with the number in 028/1st indicator 3). If, however, initials, abbreviations, or words identifying the publisher also appear with the number, transcribe the entire statement as it appears in a 500 note, even if this means giving again a publisher's name already transcribed as such. Do this in addition to recording the number in 028; set 2nd indicator to 0 in this case.

You can also insert a page number inside existing artistic or paragraph text. If the text is located on a local layer, the page number is inserted on the current page only. If the text is located on a master layer, the page number becomes part of the master layer and appears on all pages where the master layer is visible. For more information about artistic and paragraph text, see Adding and manipulating text.
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@Aaron: I am stuck exactly with the same problem. I am constructing a style guide document, and thus my content is mainly images, not text. Still I do need numbered chapters in multiple levels, but the automatic numbering seems to be almost impossible as my headings are in separate text boxes. I have tried linking heading text areas, section markers, numbered lists and whatnot, but I am about to revert back to manual numbering instead of battling with this and wasting time! It’s just so devastating, I believe that machines should do what they do best, instead of people keeping track of numbering chapters!
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.
Some drawbacks to this feature are that you lose a little control when you are typing. Word formats for you and some users do not like this. Also, on certain items, you will get a number when you do not expect or need one. For example, you have an attorney whose name begins with an initial (A. George Smith). When you type the name and press ENTER, the first initial "A." converts to an automatic number.
Numbering and Section options are available in the Pages Panel menu. These options allow you to define what page starts a section and how it should be numbered. A Current Page Number marker must be set on pages in order to use this feature. The Current Page Number is a special character inserted in a text frame on a page or master page (recommended) where the page number will appear, by selecting Type>Insert Special Character>Markers>Current Page Number.
Thanks Javad. That sounds like a very interesting document! So, one part has the binding on the left like normal, and one part has the binding on the right, is this correct? It is possible to re-start the numbering of the page numbers, however the binding swapping might be a more interesting challenge. I would take the easy way out and just create two separate documents, then combine them afterwards!

To save the list style to a template so you can use it with other documents, select the list in the document. Access the Multilevel List dropdown and choose Define New List Style. Enter a descriptive new and select the New documents based on this template (at the bottom). Once you click OK, the multilevel list style will be available in all new documents.


Notice that the Font option (when you applied italics) changes only the number, not the heading text. To update the heading text, modify the heading style as you normally would. Word assumes you want all Heading 1 and Heading 2 styles included in the new numbering scheme. If you want to omit a heading level from the scheme, don't use a built-in heading style to format those headings.
Note  If TAB and SHIFT+TAB do not work for changing the indents for outline numbering, you probably have the option Tabs and Backspace set left Indent turned off. To change this setting, from the Tools menu, choose Options. Select the Edit tab and check the option Tabs and backspace set left indent. As an alternative to turning this option on, you can instead use ALT+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW to increase or decrease outline numbering.
Thanks David for posting this for me. And thanks for sending me the .inx fie. I had a complete memory lapse on how to make a number list like that and was uber-cofused. If it was written about before I couldn’t find it on the search function for the site. And even if it is over a year old it’s still good info. It is in the Mailbag section so it really was just an answer to an email and generoulsy posted.

Using previously un-used heading levels would be more suitable for situations where you want to maintain two separate numbered lists that both make use of the "magic" properties of the built-in headings; for example, this would be the case when you set up appendix numbering as discussed in the article at https://shaunakelly.com/word/numbering/numberingappendixes.html.

GREAT tip with lots of uses! Thank you. This will save me hours of work on some tickets I’m designing. However, I also need to set up table tents that have numbers on them. They’re 2-up, and are folded, so each number needs to appear twice on the same page. In short, I want a page with 1/1 and 2/2, and I’m getting 1/2 and 3/4. Am I missing an obvious fix? Thank you.
If you ever end up formatting a large book or magazine, then knowing the trick to adding page numbers is a blessing you will be thankful for. You’ll save hours of copy-pasting, and your designs will look sharp, attractive, well thought out, and uniformly excellent. Hopefully this tutorial passed on to you something that you will use many times over.
You can insert page numbers on the current page, all pages, all odd pages, or all even pages. When you insert page numbers on multiple pages, a new master layer is automatically created, and the page number is placed on it. The master layer can be an all-page master layer, an odd-page master layer, or an even-page master layer. For more information about master layers, see Creating layers.
With the numbered paragraphs shown above, there is no extra spacing between the paragraphs. That’s easy to fix. Go ahead and type out at least part of your first numbered paragraph, then go to the Page Layout tab and adjust the value of Spacing After in the Paragraph section. Still no extra space? There’s one more setting to check. Click the launcher arrow in the lower right-hand corner to go to the Paragraph dialog box, uncheck the box next to “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.” Click OK. That paragraph and all the remaining numbered ones will have more breathing room.
While InDesign veterans may assume everyone already knows this, I can assure you I have worked with very sophisticated documents from designers who did not take advantage of this basic feature. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind as you tackle InDesign challenges is this: If it’s repetitious, tedious, or time-consuming, there’s probably a built-in solution right there in the program. You just need to go look for it.

You can use Microsoft Word to create complex documents. Books and other large documents occasionally require different page number formats in different sections of one document. For example, you can number the index pages with Roman numerals (for example, "i.", "ii.", "iii.") and the main document with Arabic numerals (for example, "1", "2", "3"). This article describes how to set up different page numbering formats.
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