[Athen] Numbered headings in Word: bug, or my goof?

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Wed Aug 30 07:07:09 PDT 2017

I have definitely run into this. What I've found is that if I put a blank line between the end of the A-materials, before starting the B materials, then the numbering part reverts to 1, 2, 3, etc. You might try that.

More white space also makes a document more readable for most people, so it's a win-win!

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
University of Colorado Boulder

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Christine Robinson
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:55 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Numbered headings in Word: bug, or my goof?

Hi all -

I've been working on a policy manual, attempting to remediate it for accessibility. This is my first time working with a long-ish document (31 pages) that uses numbered headings that follow traditional outline levels. I've run into a problem with Word's automatic numbering, and I'm not sure whether it's a bug in Word, or whether I'm doing something wrong.

When I was sent the original document, I cleared all the formatting out of it, copied and pasted the text into a new Word document, and created a new set of headings as follows:

* Heading 1 for the title

* Heading 2 for Roman numerals in an outline

* Heading 3 for uppercase letters in an outline

* etc.

When I start applying headings, initially everything is fine and dandy. However, as I get farther down in the document, Word keeps wanting to change my headings' numbering, so that if, for example, I have headings something like...

I. words words

A. words words

1. words words words

2. words words

B. blah blah

Then, when I get into the subtopics for section B, Word insists on continuing numbering from section A:
I. word words

A. words words

1. words words words

2. words words

B. blah blah

3. blah blah

4. blahdy blah

...and the farther I get in the document, the worse it gets.

I can go into the numbering menu manually, and set it to restart numbering, and that works early in the document. But as I keep going, Word ignores my attempts to restart numbering, or it accepts my numbering for that subtopic, but it also changes the numbering in previous sections, so then I have to go back and re-fix those. I don't know whether I'm doing something wrong, or whether it's just a bug in Word.

My bottom-line question: Since Word seems determined to continue numbering from previous sections instead of restarting numbering, am I doing something wrong, or is that a bug in Word that requires my awkward work-arounds?


Christine Robinson | Technical Trainer/Writer | Center for Teaching Excellence
Georgia Gwinnett College | 1000 University Center Lane | Lawrenceville, GA 30043

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