Microsoft Word Outline Numbering – Ways To Get Results (Sort Of)

It’s a competitive retail environment and whether it is searching for new sources of revenue or finding way to cut expenses, every retail company wants an edge. Unfortunately, when tough times hit, a lot of companies choose to save money by eliminating training programs for his or her front-line team members. This is despite the fact that the average national retailer spends as little as $200 each year on training their sales and customer service representatives. The bottom-line is the fact that many companies understand why training is essential, but have a hard time monetizing the expense.

At Wise Owl we use Microsoft Word its our courseware, and also over the become expert at this powerful but frustrating software program. This article considers the feature called outline numbering. This lets you create auto-numbered lists. For instance:

1. Microsoft Office

1.1 Excel

1.2 Word

1.3 PowerPoint

2. SQL Server

2.1 SQL

2.2 SSRS

You can do this by modifying styles, and choosing to format their Numbering. Each time that you do this you produce a new list template inside a list gallery.

The fundamental trouble with list galleries and list templates is they are – we believe – impossible to understand. We now have no problems with writing advanced.NET classes, creating complex relational databases or programming to guru level in C# or VB, but we can not and do not understand how outline numbering works. It is, we believe, the single most complicated software feature that we’ve used.

While preparing a courseware manual template we spent a number of days trying to get outline numbering to operate automatically, and eventually gave up. We’ve a VBA macro which removes all numbering from a document, then reimposes it in line with the heading levels for styles used. If this sounds a cumbersome approach, we’d agree, but it is proved reliable.

If you would like simple single-level numbering (1, 2, 3, say, or a, b, c) use paragraph numbering and it will work fine. If, however, you need to have multiple levels of numbering (for example 1.4.2 a)), we’d counsel you not to use Microsoft Word’s outline numbering feature to set it, but to create VBA macros to apply the numbering instead.

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