How to automatically add serial numbers to headings in Microsoft Word

When creating a multi-page document in Microsoft Word, adding paragraph or serial numbers to the headings, like “1. Introduction” or “1.2. Precondition” is often useful.

While you can insert these numbers manually, this can be a labor-intensive task. For example, when you need to insert a new heading in the middle of the document, you must modify the section numbers by hand. It is tough.

In this article, we’ll explain how to automatically add serial numbers – such as chapter, section, paragraph numbers, etc. – in Microsoft Word.

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Example of Operation

STEP
Enter the “Introduction”.
STEP
Set the paragraph style to “Heading 1”.
Set the paragraph style
Set the paragraph style
STEP
Click the “Multilevel List” button, and select the 3rd style, “1.1.1. ” of the List Library.
Change to the list style
Change to the list style
STEP
Click the “Multilevel List” button again, and select the “Define New Multilevel List…”.
Select Define New Multilevel List
Select Define New Multilevel List
STEP
Click the “More >>” button.
Define new Multilevel List dialog
Define new Multilevel List dialog
STEP
Select “Heading 1” from the “Link level to style:” combo box.

This operation, which links to the “Heading 1” paragraph style, is essential.

Link level to style "Heading 1"
Link level to style “Heading 1”
STEP
Select “2” from the “Click level to modify:” and select “Heading 2” from the “Link level to style:”.
Link level to style "Heading 2"
Link level to style “Heading 2”
STEP
Repeat the process from step 7. Link level 3 to “Heading 3”.
STEP
Click the “OK” button.
STEP
Enter “Assumptions” into the second line, and set the paragraph style to “Heading 2”.
STEP
Enter the “Terms” into the third line, and set the paragraph style to “Heading 3”.
STEP
Drag the left indent to the position where the first line indent is 0. If the ruler is not visible, click the “View” in the toolbar and turn on “Ruler”.
Adjust the left indent
Adjust the left indent

Numbers are updated automatically

As demonstrated in the example, paragraph numbers are automatically inserted by linking the levels of multilevel lists to a paragraph style of headings. For example, suppose you apply the style of a paragraph in the middle of the document to the heading. In that case, paragraph numbers appear later than that paragraph and are updated automatically.

When you create a long document, it is better that link levels to the heading first.

Conclusion

The key point of this article is the importance of “Linking levels to heading styles”.

This option isn’t displayed until you click the “More” button, making it easy to overlook.

Sequential numbers also appear when you only click the “Numbering” button or the “Multilevel List” button. However, these must be assigned as paragraph or section numbers to ensure everything is clear.

To prevent this issue, it’s best to initially link levels to heading styles.

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Akira Hayashi (林 晃)のアバター Akira Hayashi (林 晃) Representative(代表), Software Engineer(ソフトウェアエンジニア)

アールケー開発代表。Appleプラットフォーム向けの開発を専門としているソフトウェアエンジニア。ソフトウェアの受託開発、技術書執筆、技術指導・セミナー講師。note, Medium, LinkedIn
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Representative of RK Kaihatsu. Software Engineer Specializing in Development for the Apple Platform. Specializing in contract software development, technical writing, and serving as a tech workshop lecturer. note, Medium, LinkedIn

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