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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
Numbered lists, sometimes called ordered lists, are traditionally a hassle in a page layout program because it seems like the client always wants to make a change at the last minute and then you have to manually reorder all those numbers. But it doesn't have to be hard, because InDesign has an automatic numbering feature. Let me show you how it works. I'll zoom in and select this text by double-clicking and then dragging over a bunch of this text, good! And now I'm going to turn on the Automatic Numbering feature. It's this button up in the Control panel. It has a little one, two, three icon next to it.
And when I turn that on, you see that I get automatic numbering. Another way to turn numbering on is to go to the Control panel flyout menu and choose Bullets and Numbering. They call it the Bullets and Numbering dialog box because this one dialog box that lets you control both bullets or numbering. In this case we will focus on numbering of course. Now there is no doubt that this dialog box is a little overwhelming at first. So let's take it step-by-step. The first thing we need to do is choose a format. The format right now is these Arabic numerals, but we could change it to lowercase Roman numerals if we want to, or a, b, c. Any of these options are okay.
I'm going to stick with 1, 2, 3 however. I'll skip over the Number field and jump right down to Character Style. I'll be talking about character styles in a later movie but I want to point out that in this document I've already created one called numbers and when I choose that it automatically styles my numbers so they really pop off the page. So this is looking pretty good so far. I'll go ahead and click OK and then maybe I notice that this paragraph here perhaps shouldn't have a number. How do I turn the number off? Well, I just click on that button again. Click it and the numbering jumps past that paragraph so they go 3, 4, 5, nothing, and then 6 after it.
That's how you can make an unnumbered paragraph in the middle of a list. Now what if I didn't want the list to start with 6 but rather start with number 1 again? How would I do that? Well, I'll place my cursor anywhere inside that paragraph and then I'll open the Bullets and Numbering dialog box again. To do that I'll hold down the Option or Alt key and click on the button. That's such a little shortcut to open the Bullets and Numbering dialog box. Notice that the Mode pop- up menu has two options. Continue from Previous Number, which is what it's set to right now or Start At. In this case I wanted to start at 1 so I simply choose Start At and it guesses 1.
I could start it at any number I want of course. Now what about secondary lists, sub-lists? For example, I want this to be 1, 2 and then 2a, 2b, and then continue with a list. How would I do that? I'll click OK, choose the paragraphs that I want to affect, in this case the third and fourth paragraph, open my dialog box one more time with the Option or Alt+click on the button and then change this from a level 1 to a level 2. Now I wanted this to be 2a and 2b, so I'm going to change the Format popup menu to Letters.
There we go, a and b. To add a number 2 before it I'm going to have to tackle this field, the Number field, with this cryptic code in it. Don't worry. It's not too hard. The character number sign means the current number which is a and then b. Then there is a period which just means a period and then ^T which means follow it with a Tab. Now I'd like to put the previous number, the first level number, before all of that. So I'm going to click inside the Number field just little left of that first caret.
I'm going to come out here to this little triangle pop-out menu and then I have an option for choosing a special character to insert here or a number placeholder. In this case I want a number placeholder and I want the number placeholder for Level 1. Level 1 was the previous numbering level, remember? Now we are on Level 2 so we can see 2a and 2b. That's exactly what we wanted, except that we need to adjust the indents a little bit. How about I'll change the left indent to something like 50 points and then first- line indent to something like -30 points? That looks much better.
Like I said this dialog box can be a little overwhelming. If you're still a little confused, go back and watch this movie a couple more times to see how I applied these numbers. I think you'll find that with a systematic approach to this dialog box you'll be making automatic numbering in no time.
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