A List Style stores the information about how to number each level. That includes the format of the number ( "1" or "a" or "i"), whether the number is preceded by text (eg "Chapter 1" or "Part A"), whether the number includes previous levels' numbers (eg paragraph 1.4.3), and the indents (the distance from margin to number and from number to text).
A defined list can be interrupted by other paragraphs and lists, and can span different stories and different documents in a book. For example, use defined lists to create a multi-level outline, or to create a running list of numbered table names throughout your document. You can also define lists for separately numbered or bulleted items that are mixed together. For example, in a list of questions and answers, define one list for numbering the questions and another for numbering the answers.
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.

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.
A List Style stores the information about how to number each level. That includes the format of the number ( "1" or "a" or "i"), whether the number is preceded by text (eg "Chapter 1" or "Part A"), whether the number includes previous levels' numbers (eg paragraph 1.4.3), and the indents (the distance from margin to number and from number to text).
A single InDesign document can contain up to 9,999 pages, but page numbers can be as large as 999,999. (For example, you can correctly number a 100‑page document that starts on page 9,949.) By default, the first page is a recto (right) page numbered 1. Odd-numbered pages always appear on the right; if you use the Section Options command to change the first page number to an even number, the first page becomes a verso (left) page.

This feature is easiest to use when you combine it with Word's built-in heading styles. However, you can map a custom heading style to the multilevel numbering feature—it just takes more work. Word handles nine levels, but any document with more than four levels should receive a serious developmental edit. More than four becomes confusing and perhaps worse, unreadable.
A quick way to create a bulleted or numbered list is to type the list, select it, and then click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button in the Control panel. These buttons let you turn the list on or off and switch between bullets and numbers. You can also make bullets and numbering part of a paragraph style and construct lists by assigning styles to paragraphs.
See Word's Numbering Explained by John McGhie, MVP - comprehensive and not pretty (Downloadable pdf file in letter size) - Reading this is vital to anyone attempting to use automatic numbering or bullets in a law office setting or other places where the documents are likely to be reused or heavily edited. See also How to Create a Template with a downloadable template with style-based numbering.
An awesome new feature to has been introduced to Microsoft Publisher 2010 is the ability to use Data Sources to create "Catalogue Pages". This is like a Mail Merge for design documents. Now, I would have to agree that Publisher isn't the best graphic design program in the market. But it's certainly adequate for simple ticket designs — for example, for a school social. Let's say we want each ticket to have a unique number and an inspiration quote. This is all possible through Publisher and a data source, e.g. an Excel Spreadsheet.
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There’s an old Steve Martin joke about how to make a million dollars which starts, “First, get a million dollars…” That’s the key to this trick, too: First, get a bunch of numbers. Here’s a file with 1,197 numbers in it. Now import or paste those numbers into a thread so that the numbers appear in the right place. If you need two matching numbers, just import it twice.

- [Voiceover] If you're creating a multi-page document, there may be a need to use page numbering or create a master layer. Now, page numbering is fairly straightforward, but master layering may need a bit of an explanation. A master layer is a layer that will be displayed on all pages. What this means is that if I was to create a master layer, whatever I put on that layer will appear on all pages. I perfect an example of this is if I was creating a layout for a financial report and wanted a company logo to be on all pages, then I'd put it on a master layer. From my Object Manager, I'm going to left click on this black triangle, and then I'm going to select New Master Layer all pages. Now, if I go over to my tool box, I'm going to grab my rectangle tool. I'm gonna left click and drag. I'll create a small rectangle here. I'm going to give that a solid color, and let's just do another object here as well, and I'll give that a slight bit different color. So we can pretend this is…
Changing the numbering display affects how pages are indicated in the InDesign document, as in the Pages panel and in the page box at the bottom of a document window. The numbering display also affects how you specify page ranges when printing and exporting the document. However, the numbering display does not change the appearance of page numbers on document pages.
This chapter (web page) takes you through how numbering is supposed to work in Word and the various controls. It is useful, but primarily on SEQ fields and simple numbered lists and also as reference showing the menus, dialogs and controls and going through the concepts for outline numbering. To actually set up outline numbering that works, refer to the Kelly and McGhie articles.

The auto-indenting feature of bullets and lists has always frustrated me. EVERY time you apply a numbered or bulleted list, you've got to set the indents. I want my lists to be indented at the very left of the page, flush with the rest of the paragraphs. But no, Microsoft insists that you want them indented by 0.63cm and hanging at 1.27cm (WHY 0.63? Why not 0.7? Or 1.0cm? But that's a question for a different session.) (I know, it's because MS is American and still uses inches etc...)
@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!
If you want numbered headings to be underlined, but do not want a line under the number, it can be difficult if you don't know how it works. This is because by default, the format of the number follows the format of the text that follows it. For example, let's say you want to underline a paragraph in a Heading 2 style. Chances are it will look like this:
In this situation I would suggest using an Alternate Layout. Once the content is final, choose Create Alternate Layout from the Pages panel menu. Make sure to create the new layout the same size and orientation as the original and then use the Numbering and Section Options dialog to specify the numbering required for the second catalog. The Print dialog will then let you select which layout to print.
Changing the numbering display affects how pages are indicated in the InDesign document, as in the Pages panel and in the page box at the bottom of a document window. The numbering display also affects how you specify page ranges when printing and exporting the document. However, the numbering display does not change the appearance of page numbers on document pages. numbering in indesign
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