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In Word 2007, I was the program manager responsible for driving both the changes in the styles user experience and the investment made in lists. There a number of decisions that were made by those of us involved in those efforts that folks are still talking about (including in recent comments on this and other blogs). This post gives you some of my personal insights as to why we went in the directions we did. The goal is to provide a bit more information about both how Word works and why it works the way it does in these areas.
The organization of the Home tab of the Ribbon had two primary driving forces from my perspective. The first was to get the most commonly used commands readily available to the user. The second was to present the style features of Word in a UI that matches their design (separating text styles from list styles from table styles). The underlying reasoning for this second focus was to subtly guide users in properly using these features.
The UI is very much biased towards applying text styles, with both visual and semantic cues to guide in the selection of the appropriate style. We made this change for three reasons. The first two relate to taking advantage of new user experience technologies – galleries and live preview. For the first time, users could see what applying a style would do to their content. The other was to separate text styles (which can be applied to any range of text) for the more specialized list and table styles (which should only be applied to those structures).
Note that List Styles are on the Home tab – but in the UI that emphasizes how they are meant to be applied. And Table Styles are on the contextual tab for a table – out of the way except for in the cases where they have meaning. One of the benefits of this organization was that we could add more specific UI around these styles. For example, when you apply a list structure from the Multilevel List gallery, we highlight the list that you are formatting. (Note that the Multilevel List gallery includes both list styles and unnamed multilevel list structures – a topic discussed in other blog posts.)
We also ensured that we continued to support two of the most common ways that power users applied styles. We updated the UI that you see when you use Ctrl+Shift+S, adding a bit more power to that dialog box. And we made sure that you could still add the old Style combo box to the QAT if you preferred that model (which has the advantage of reporting the dominant style for the current selection).
Linked Styles is functionality introduced in Word 2002 as the default definition of new styles. Its purpose is to allow the easy creation of “run-in” headings where only the first few words of the paragraph are formatted as the heading. This meant that the style could either be used on the full paragraph (as a traditional heading paragraph style) or on a range (as a heading character style) and both would pull to the same level in a Table of Contents.
In conversations with various people, including several MVPs, we agreed that being able to turn off the ability to apply to a range was very useful in some cases. This led to exposing the concept of a Linked Style a bit more aggressively in the UI so that people could explicitly define a Paragraph Style (prior to Word 2007, any paragraph style was automatically a linked style). And to allow me to add the “Disable Linked Styles” option to the Styles pane, which forces any linked style to behavior as a paragraph style – applying to the entire paragraph even when a range is selected.
The number structure in Word is extremely complex for a variety of reasons including the need to support scenarios that require that list structures and paragraphs each independently have indents. The most common scenario that I can easily describe is one where bullets are used to imply meaning and indentation is used to indicate importance. The classic of this might be red/green/yellow bullets for status and indent for priority. It’s not the core scenario but it is one that Word has always supported.
Restart is one of the most challenging aspects of lists and I admit I can see several different ways we might have implemented it. Word treats restart as part of the definition of how the automatic behavior of the list should behave – you can think of it as training Word how to number. The reason for our current model is that in many list structures (most notably in legal), the restart is not based on the level immediately before but rather a higher level. Thus, you see structures like the following:
1. Level 1
a. Level 2
b. Level 2
i. Level 3
ii. Level 3
c. Level 2
d. Level 2
iii. Level 3
iv. Level 3
2. Level 1
e. Level 2
f. Level 2
In this example, the second level (the lettered list) does not restart based on the first level but the third level does. Certainly these are not the most common structures – but they are ones that Word needs to support to appeal to its breadth of users.
One of the things that’s not obvious about this type of structure is that you needn’t actually have any bullet or numbering at a level. This allows you to define a level of plain text that will trigger the restart of a list. (Of course, using this sort of model is one of the cases that then pushes the need for more than nine levels of numbering – something we’ll definitely consider in the next version).
Restart is very different then from a Start at value, which is used to associate a specific numbering value with a paragraph. You can’t associate a Start at value with a paragraph style because in almost all cases, it is a better model to have all of the paragraphs within a given list level share the same paragraph style.
The most common lists, those that have one or two levels with consistent formatting are easy to define. It’s even relatively easy to see how several of these might work within the same document. And these are generally managed by our simple list UI, not needing the added complexity of a list style (or multilevel list). In these cases, the list is managed by the numbering being associated with the paragraph. And the UI for creating a paragraph style reflects this simple relationship. Multilevel lists (including List styles) exist for when the structure of the list is complex and when the ability to promote and demote among levels in the list is important.
I think the core confusion is the belief that you would ever apply a List Style to a paragraph – that’s never been the intent or the internal structure. A List Style is used foremost as a structure for formatting a collection of paragraphs based on “level.” You might apply a list style to a group of paragraphs and that’s why it has its own gallery on the Home Tab (which neatly highlights the members of the current list when you go to change the applied formatting). The second purpose is as a container to relate a set of paragraph styles—to define how one moves among them using promote and demote actions. In that case, one applies the paragraph style, not the list style, to any individual paragraph.
To be clear, in earlier versions, it was possible to associate a paragraph style with a single level of a list structure. This was a flawed model in that it did not explicitly define the promote or demote behaviors for that paragraph style while given the illusion that more than the formatting of the single level had been created. The UI is reworked to emphasize that if you want a list format as part of a paragraph style, you need to be associating only the simply number formats (not a list structure).
Using Adjust List Indents should be updating the indents stored in the list structure. However, if you have created paragraph styles linked to levels within a list structure (rather than a list structure that contains paragraph styles at the various levels), then changing the indent would indeed change the relationship (because you’ve in effect redefined the list that the paragraph is associated with).
Word 2007 introduced a variety of ways for the style creator to organize the styles in the UI, stepping away from the solely alphabetical listing of previous versions. Part of the reason for that was to provide the sort of control that people had expected from the “In Use” string. At its most well-behaved, the “In Use” functionality reports any built-in style that has ever been used in the document and any custom-defined style in the document (whether or not it has ever been applied). I think the naming is unfortunate but so far no one has come up with a better description that wasn’t significantly longer.
I THINK I understand your rationale clearly, and the part I understand makes sense. I've been trying to accomplish something that nobody has been able to tell me either how it can be done, or that it's not possible. I've had many efforts made and have thanked those experts for their knowledge and generosity with their time, but none has helped. I've been on TechNet, MSDN, and Microsoft Answers, and pretty much every Word expert's website I could find, not to mention all the books. Here's a link to my question on the Answers site. It's been marked answered, but the original question hasn't been.
Here's my issue/challenge: If you look at your illustraion in this blog, above, Level 1, Level 2, etc., you see that line spacing is identical between and within all levels. I believe this is because all elements of the list are in a single style: List Paragraph style.
I'm trying to create a multi-level list (or to style a multi-level list) so that there is line space before and/or after each instance of Level 1, but NO SPACE between individual lines of Level 2 numbers.
Think multiple choice test. I'd like space before and/or after each question (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), but no space between the answer choices of each individual question (a, b, c, d). Can it be done through a multi-level list or styles?
Thanks very much.
So how do I fix the example?
I have multiple cases where I need numbering to restart after any new paragraph in the outline level above it. I also need to have different paragraph styles at any given outline level. I experience the situation in the example above. How do I get the lettered list (level 2) to restart after level 1. The level 1 is a Heading 1 paragraph using the list style "Headings" and the list style is linked to the paragraph style (as suggested by ShaunaKelly.com). The level 2 is a List-Nm-2 paragraph style using the list style "Lists-Nm". There is similar linking between list style and paragraph style.
There appears to be no communication between the list styles such that a new level 1 has happened and so all level 2 paragraphs should be reset.
I have used FrameMaker for many years and this linking is easily accomplished.
Any suggestions how to do it in Word?
Please help. I've read this whole thing, and many other blogs, forums, and help topics, and I can't find a solution to my problem. I am creating outlines in Word 2010. They are strict outlines -- when a heading is followed by a lower-level heading, the lower-level heading's numbering must always restart. I have some plain or bulleted paragraphs interspersed, but only the heading paragraphs trigger the restart of a lower-level heading's numbering. I carefully defined numbering styles and indents for six levels of paragraphs, named Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. I thought I had created a list style I would be able to reuse, but I can't now find any evidence of that in the UI, so maybe I just managed the whole thing through paragraph styles.
The problem is that exactly one of my six heading styles is working wrong. It is using continuous numbering throughout the document. All the other paras are behaving nicely and restarting themselves when a higher-level paragraph precedes them. I can't figure out where/how to fix this in my Heading 5 paragraphs! There is no evidence of a setting anywhere in the UI. I believe I have clicked everything there is to click. What am I missing?
-- I can't find a place to define the restarting property of the paragraph style's numbering. It's not in Modify Style > Format > Numbering...
-- I can't even find a manual Restart at 1 command -- and I wouldn't want that, anyway; I just want Heading 5 to behave like the other Headings with respect to numbering.
-- I found Start At, but as you point out, that's not what I want. And when I try to use it, it changes the formatting of the paragraph style I've worked so hard to define.
Also, supposing I wanted to create a list style that uses these already-defined paragraph styles within screwing with them (changing the formatting, the numbering, the indents), how would I do that? Maybe that would be the key to making the numbering work right, but I can't find any instructions on how to do this.
I realise this thread is a bit old but I have a question about Multi language packs and multilevel styled lists. Basically if you have a multilanguage installation of Word 2010 SP1, and you installed Norwegian first, then create a document using Overskrift 1 (Heading 1), Overskrift 2 etc and, with the cursor in a heading turn on multilevel lists, the headings become 1., 1.1, 1.1.1 etc depending on the heading style. Now, if you switch language on that Office installation to say german, english or whatever, and you open Word and try to repeat the operation, the program attempts to use Overskrift 1, Overskrift 2 etc and because english Word think of Heading 1, Heading 2 etc, the operation fails. This has remained for several versions, and is still in Office 2010 SP1. I have also seen others with the same problem, say with Office 2007 SP2 German, add english language pack, it looks for Überschrift 1, sees Heading 1 and fails to work. The other way is also true, starting with English, adding other language pack. Is there a way this is supposed to work? Do we do something wrong? Its very frustrating.
Tom R. Berg
zwirwel <at> gmail dot com
kjl9060 - line spacing is part of the paragraph style that is linked to the numbering scheme. So you can just go to your sub-level paragraphs and modify that style and you can have whatever line spacing you want for each numbering level.
The key concept here is that numbering schemes are LINKED to paragraph styles, but the numbering itself is not part of the paragraph's style attribute collection, despite the ability to access it through modify styles.
It's always been confusing, but it's getting better in 2010 -- we teach to always modify numbering schemes through right-clicking a paragraph with the scheme applied and choosing Adjust List indents. If you created the scheme with Define new multilevel list (not via Define New List)*, this will always take you to the correct place to edit the numbering. Anything that is not in that window should be edited through Modify Styles.
I hope that helps!
* PS: If you do use Define new multilevel list, be sure to enter a ListNum field list name -- that way you will have all the programming advantages of a list style without the associated interface hassles.
1500 words to justify why numbering is not intuitive. Even people inside of Microsoft who write documentation HATE Word for the hours of frustration it causes. Not only does the current implementation NOT add value, it causes huge pain for the vast majority of people trying to use the software. If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be:
Go back to the drawing board and do it all over; this time keep the end user in mind. It doesn't matter if it works if no one can figure out how to use it. Meanwhile, I'll go use Symphony from IBM. It's free and it just works.
I can't agree more with many of the other posters: this is just WAY TOO HARD for most of us who want a simple but powerful outline/numbering tool. I have never been more frustrated with a software tool than I have with Word on this point. I finally think I have it figured out, and WHAM, I find out I was wrong.
Why not make a 'simplified' tool that just allows good formatting of the paragraphs and simple numbering. Forgive this, but WordPerfect 5.1 or 5.2 for DOS had this absolutely NAILED and was about as easy as a DOS program could be. It worked EVERY TIME, unlike Word. How can we be moving backwards so fast 20 years after this problem was already solved?
Try creating a numbering scheme where level 1 is unnumbered, e.g.
1. level 2 - first para in list
2. level 2 another para in list
Heading (this is level 1 with no number attached)
1. level 2 - new list para (will restart numbering on its own after use of level 1)
Something in Word 2010's styles continues to create problems with proliferating "Char" additions to style names. Various forum discussions seem to blame the linked styles "feature": it appears that it cannot be turned off for built-in style names (i.e. so Body Text will be a linked style whether you want it to be or not).
I have been trying to eliminate these rogue "styles" using means that worked just fine in Word 2003 (Find and Replace; choosing delete from the Styles dialog; Organizer; etc.) but NOTHING seems to work in Word 2010. The "Char" styles don't show in the Styles dialog BUT they do appear if you use the F&R dialog to find a named style -- and if the document is opened in an earlier version of Word (Win or Mac), the rogue styles are in the list.
Surely there must be some way to get rid of these!
The problem is not Word's styles as such but a option to "keep track of formatting" that creates a new Char style every time you apply direct formatting to text that has a style applied. So, if I bold some text in a paragraph styled "body text" Word creates a style called "Body text char".
This "feature" allows people to identify where direct formatting is applied, presumably so that inconsistencies can be detected and strict styles applied. This drives me nuts.
If it is unhelpful to you simply go to File-Options-Advanced and look for the "keep track of formatting" checkbox - UNtick that box and the proliferation of "char" styles will cease. Of course that does not help you with existing documents that are full of dross, bat at least it halts further frustration.
Unchecking this option is the first thing I do when installing Word.
Like mycircular file I am totally frustrated that you would fix something that wasn't broken and then spend 1500 words to not explain it. I used outlines pretty extensively for years. I can no longer use them because they simply do not work. I have spent hours trying various possible methods to get it to do what it used to do and reading blogs, none of which has helped. I want to do 2 simple things. I want to hit a keystroke to take move up a level in the outline (used to be [CTRL-TAB]. It now longer works. Second, when I hit tab to take me down a level I want the foolish thing to indent. I now need someone to help me with these issues and do it in les than 1500 words and without technical jargon.
I need to know how to mix my numbering styles. Lawyers do not tend to follow "standard" numbering schemes and I am going nuts trying to force it to happen. I need "Article I" (roman numeral), then I need the paragraphs underneath to be 1.1; 1.1.1; i), a). As you can see, this totally unconventional. Once I define my Article I, when I "add level one" to the the second level I end up with I.1....then when I add Article II, the paragraph below is also I.1. This is my major frustration with Word in general...I want to design the document, I do not need you thinking for me!
This is fascinating. As with other Office issues, I only found this "string of expertise" after several other unsuccessful attempts to find the particular problem addressed anywhere on the countless different MS support forums/guides/blogs what have you. This is a very thorough explanation of why the styling problems with numbers and lists are so pervasive in Word. Now that I know what is going on, I realize that a practical solution is virtually impossible to affect by someone who just want to style a document, in a logical way. I guess that is better than thinking I am missing something.