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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
You probably know that you can make a numbered list in In Design. What web folks call the ordered list, something that updates automatically when you add or remove paragraphs. To do that, all you need to do is choose the type tool, select the paragraphs that you want to apply the numbered list to, and then click on the numbered list button in the control panel. The great thing about numbered lists is that you can update them very easily. For example, I needed to add two more paragraphs here, so I'll simply select those and click on the button. Now, all the numbers update. If I remove paragraphs in the middle, all the numbers would update again.
I love that. However, what if I wanted this to be a multi-level numbered list? For example, this needs to be 3A, 3B, 3C and so on. How would we do that? Well, it's not so obvious. So, in this lesson, I'm going to take you through the steps that you need to know to create lists that are two or more levels deep. Whenever you're making numbered lists, it's imperative that you use paragraph styles. You're going to drive yourself crazy if you don't. So, I'm going to select all of these paragraphs. I'll open my paragraph styles panel and I'm going to create a new paragraph style for this list.
I'll call it list level one. You can call it anything you want, but I'll call it that. Before I click okay, I want to make sure that apply style to selection is turned on. It is. So, that when I click okay, it's going to make that style, and apply it to those paragraphs. Now, this is interesting. I can see, immediately, that something's messed up. Look at all the numbers. They're all one. So, let's go ahead and edit that style, and see what went wrong. I'm simply going to double click on it, which opens up the Paragraph Option Styles dialog box. And then, I'll click on Bullets and Numbering, to open up that pane.
We can see that this list is going to use regular numbers, one, two, three, four, and so on. And, we can see that the code here tells us that it's going to insert the number, the current number, followed by a period, followed by the tab. That's what those codes are all about. But, look at this. The mode is set to start at one. All of them are starting at one. That's not what we want. We are going to change this to continue from previous number. Because the preview check box is turned on down here, I can immediately see that all my numbers have reworked themselves properly. One is following the next.
I would kind of like all of these numbers to right aligned, however, right along those dots as periods. I think that would look nicer. So, I'm going to come over here to the alignment pop-up menu and change this to right. Now, most InDesign users, when they tried that, they find it doesn't work and they give up, but let me tell you the trick. Not only do you need to set this to Right Aligned, but you also need to make sure that the left indent is large enough to fit all the numbers. So, for example, if I come in here and change the left indent to something larger, like 20 points and set the first line indent to something smaller, maybe minue four points, and then I'll hit tab again, you'll see that all of these numbers are moved over and now they can be right aligned.
There's enough space there, so that looks pretty good. I'm going to click okay. And now, let's try to do at the second level. Remember, I wanted these paragraphs here to be indented. And, I wanted this to be 3A, 3B, and so on. I've selected those paragraphs and I'll head back over to the paragraph style panel menu and chose new paragraph style. This time, I'm going to call it List Level Two. Again, you can call that anything you want and I'll head right to my bullets and numbering pain. You'll notice that I keep calling this a second level heading or multi level headings.
And, that's because the key to this whole trick is this level field over here on the right side of the dialogue box. Right now, it's set to level one. Butt, if I increase this by clicking this little button and making this two, suddenly I have a second level head. We can actually see this here. It goes one, two, three, and then back to one again. Let's make this more obvious by changing the format to a, b, c. Also, let's increase the indent to something like 40 points. So, suddenly, we have one, two, three, and then a, b, c, d, and then it skips back to four.
So, that's looking pretty good, but what if I wanted this to say 3a, 3b, 3c? Well, we can do that, too. All we need to do is change the number codes. Remember, this code is the current number followed by a period and a tab? Well, if I want it to say 3a, 3b, 3c and so on, I need to click before this code, I'll just click right there at the beginning. And then, I'm going to come over to this little pop up menu, this little triangle. And, I'm going to choose from the insert number place holder sub menu.
And, I'll choose level one. In other words, grab the number from the last level one list. Let's see if it works. It typed the code for me. Carrot one. And, we can see that it's grabbing the number here, three, and it's inserting it before the a, b, c. So, it now says 3, 3a, 3b, and so on. That's exactly what I wanted. Let's select Okay and see if our paragraph styles work elsewhere. I'll select a couple of paragraphs down here and change them into a list level two. And indeed, we have 6, 6a, 6b.
If I come over here and delete a paragraph, I'm going to just delete paragraph number five there. Hit the delete key. Everything updates. All the numbers change, so now, it's 5, 5a, 5b. So, this is just another one of those features in InDesign that seems really hard until you see how it's done. The key is using paragraph styles and remembering that word. Level.
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