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Continuing Your Numbering

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Continuing Your Numbering.

You can take advantage of a nifty Word feature that allows you to easily pick up numbering where you previously left off. This is great for numbered lists that are interspersed with paragraphs that have a different format. In general, the feature is most easily accessed as follows:

  1. Enter the first portion of your numbered list and format it. For example, if your list has 17 items, and there is a heading after item 4, then you would enter the first four items in the numbered list.
  2. Enter the heading or paragraph that interrupts the list.
  3. Enter the rest of your numbered list and format it. The list should begin with 1 again.
  4. Right-click on the first paragraph after the list interruption. A Context menu appears.
  5. Choose Continue Numbering. Word adjusts the numbering as specified.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5949) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Continuing Your Numbering.

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Comments for this tip:

David Skinner    02 Jul 2015, 12:11
I could not get this to work until I right clicked on the paragraph NUMBER. Then I saw the "Continue Numbering" option on the context menu.
Mike    23 Apr 2015, 07:22
A different way of achieving the same result is to create your numbered list, enter your unnumbered paragraphs, go back and highlight your numbered list, click on the format painter and then choose the paragraphs where you wish the numbering to continue. It is not necessarily any quicker but it does ensure that the numbering and formatting remains constant. Sometimes when I have used the method explained in the article the formatting of other elements rather than the numbering can be different.
Stephen    07 Apr 2015, 05:52
I gets problems with this mechanism the opposite way round - I don't want the lists to continue. I have a large document with multi-level numbering within tables - numbering at first level and lettered lists at second level.

This is a document I've been working on for a couple of years (!), and as I edit and change the document I keep getting two problems, even though I set things up right (I think!):

The simple problem, which is most related to the topic, is that the lettered (second level) lists keep deciding to continue, and I have to keep restarting them.

The other problem is that the (first level) numbered lists are supposed to pick up the current section number, but often decides to choose the number 30 instead!

I don't suppose anyone can help me on these problems here, but perhaps it's a warning to users of this feature that, in my experience, Word is fine for shorter documents, but that it gets flakey if you use such features extensively - especially with tables.
Karl Gregg    06 Apr 2015, 12:28
Another, maybe simpler method (at least in Word 2013.
1. Start list with "1. space". Numbering commences.
2. When different (heading or just paragraph) text starts, press Backspace to cancel numbering before typing.
3. Start typing next numbered part without a number but same style as the numbered part.
4. Use 'Format Painter' to pick up numbering (and style) in the last previously numbered part.
Word has the smarts to continue numbering where you left off.
Juan    16 Sep 2012, 15:24
Thank you very much for this useful tip.
 
 

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