Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Numbering on New Paragraph Doesn't Work as Expected.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2013)
Joel is setting up a template in Word that uses outline numbering. When he sets the insertion point at the end of a line and presses Enter, the numbering does not continue. The only thing that works is moving the insertion point to the left of the period at the end of the line and then pressing Enter. This carries the period to the next paragraph and the new paragraph then has the proper numbering format. Joel wonders how to avoid using that crutch. He wants others who use the template to hit Enter and just keep typing the next item in the outline with no problem.
The most likely cause of this behavior is actually a built-in feature of Word. When you define a style you can specify what style should be used for the paragraph that follows this one. That may sound confusing, but it isn't really that tough if you remember that Word allows you to specify what style should be applied to the next paragraph you type, after you press Enter. You can set up that capability for an existing style by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.
There are some caveats that you should keep in mind. First, you'll want to pay attention to which styles you are modifying and whether your modification makes sense for all the uses for which the style may be used. For instance, if you are using a numbering scheme that is linked, in some way, to the heading styles defined in Word, you may not want to change the "Style for Following Paragraph" setting for your heading styles. The reason is because there are many times where you want the style after a Heading to naturally be whatever style you are using for your body text, not another instance of the same heading.
In this case, the solution is to make sure that you set up a group of styles that will be used specifically for your numbering purposes, separate from your heading styles.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8377) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Numbering on New Paragraph Doesn't Work as Expected.
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