Use Microsoft Word 2010 & 2013 for Dissertations: Automatic Numbering

For chapters and subsections
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Page Contents

Learn about making subsections and appendices easier to number

  • Customizing Your Numbers
  • Outline Numbering in Appendices

Automatic Chapter and Subsection Numbering

Important Note: Not everyone needs this type of numbering; if your discipline doesn’t require it, skip this section!

Word can automatically number sections (Chapter 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc.) of your document and include the chapter number in the captions (Figure 1.2, 2.2, etc.).

  1. Make sure each of your chapter titles are in the Heading 1 style, and then click on one of your chapter titles.
  2. If you just need the chapter number included in captions, on the On the Home Ribbon, in the Paragraph Group, click the Multilevel List icon and select the one with the words Chapter 1 in it from the List Library section. 

    If you need subsections numbered (for example, 2.1, 2.2, 2.12, etc.) as well, then choose the list the 1 Heading 1; 1.1 Heading 2, etc. option (right side, middle row). Note that doing this once sets the formatting for all heading levels.
  3. Click OK when you are finished.
  4. If you typed in the text “Chapter #”, and now it is duplicating your efforts, delete the text you typed and leave the automatically generated chapter number.
  5. To follow the automatically generated chapter number with the title of your chapter on a new line, click just before the text of your title, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard, and then press the Enter key.

Note: If you have any problems with word automatically adding outline numbering to parts of your front matter, simply delete it.  Your chapter numbers will reset to show the correct number of chapters.

Customizing Your Numbers

If you want to change anything about the numbers – for example, you are using the 1.1, 1.2, etc. style but would like the word “Chapter” to display automatically in front of the Heading 1 number, you want to change Arabic numbers to Ordinal, or you want to change the spacing after the numbers, you can.

Click one of your headings, then go back to the Home Ribbon, and in the Paragraph Group click the Multilevel List icon (see screen shot above) and select Define New Multilevel List….  Click the More>> button, then select the relevant list level.

  • You can use the Number style for this level: pulldown menu to choose from a various styles, as seen in the screenshot (below the Enter formatting for number: box).
  • In the screenshot, with the Level on the left set at 1, we added the word “Chapter”. Moving to the second level, you can change the period in between the level and sublevel to a dash or anything you want in the Number format box.
  • You can also see that a tab follows the number – you can change it to a space or none. You may have to adjust this if the alignment seems off.

Outline Numbering in Appendices

You may also restart number for captions in your appendices or other separate areas of your dissertation.  You will need to change your outline numbering settings before inserting your captions.

We are going to do a variant of the steps above, but instead of defining new levels for your list, you will be editing the first level from this point forward. This should work, but sometimes Word acts up, and even though you’ve followed all the steps, it doesn’t take. If that happens, set up an appointment with the KNC and we’ll help you out.

  1. Apply the Heading 1 style to the title of your Appendix.
  2. On the Home Ribbon, go to the Paragraph Group, click the Multilevel List icon and select Define New Multilevel List….  Make sure the whole dialog box is showing by clicking on the More>> button (if it says <<Less instead, you are all set).
  3. Under Enter formatting for new number:, replace “Chapter” with “Appendix.”
  4. Choose the appropriate style, (such as A,B,C,…) from the Number style for this level: pulldown menu.
  5. Set the correct letter or number in the Start at: pulldown.
  6. In the Apply changes to: pulldown, choose This point forward.
  7. Click OK to close the dialog box.