Numbered Section Headings in Word 2016

There's no way I'm going to remember this in the future if I don't write it down. And perhaps someone else will find this useful.

I am writing scripts to accompany slides for teaching videos, and so, naturally, I want to have headings that indicate which slide the content that follows corresponds to. But, if I add a slide in the middle, I want the slide numbering to adjust automatically. How do I make Microsoft Word 2016 do that?

It took some googling, but I pieced together a way to get it done. I'm not going to spend any time making nice screenshots with ovals and arrows to create a pretty guide for universal use. Here is a bare-bones outline of the procedure, a trail of breadcrumbs that will hopefully lead out of the forest of confusion if followed carefully.

  1. In a new document, on the Home tab, right-click the desired style for the document. I chose "Heading 1." Choose Modify...
  2. Click the Format drop-down menu and choose Numbering...
  3. Click on Define New Number Format...
  4. In the Number format box, edit around the number 1 with the shaded box, which is the placeholder for the heading number. I put "SLIDE 1:" Click OK.
  5. The new numbering style will appear in the Numbering Library. Click OK to exit back to the Modify Style dialog.
  6. Type in a new name. I did "SCRIPT STYLE". Click OK to exit.
  7. The new style appears as SLIDE 1 on top, with SCRIPT STYLE underneath. Unfortunately, it isn't the first style, so reordering is necessary.
  8. Click on the button in the lower right corner of the Styles part of the ribbon, and choose Apply Styles... (even though that doesn't sound like what I want to do)
  9. Click on the button on the right that has the 2 letter A's in different fonts. It says Styles when hovered over. (How was I supposed to figure that out?)
  10. Click on the third button at the bottom, with the same letter A's, but with a pencil below them. (By this time I realize that the organization of options is reasonably random, so, hey, why not here!)
  11. Click on the Recommend tab. Highlight the style. In my case, it was still called, "Heading 1." I moved it up, and made Normal second. Click OK to finish.
  12. To use it, click on a new line, then click on the styles button with the new heading SLIDE 1. The appropriately numbered and formatted heading will appear.
  13. Hit enter, and the style will return to normal, for filling in the slide content.

Now, I could make a template out of this, and there were options along the way for making the style apply to a template, but I'm just going to keep saving new copies of this one document to edit, so I don't need to go to the trouble of learning how to do that.

I don't use Microsoft Word that much. In my life, any writing that needs complicated formatting probably has math in it, and so I'm back in the world of Latex; or it's programming, and I'm using Emacs. When I have to do anything in Word, I just want to get in and get out. It's a powerful program, it's WYSIWYG, and it tries to be smart. Now, powerful programs have a million options, which makes them hard to navigate unless you invest a lot of time in learning them. WYSIWYG editors make it hard to figure out the logical structure of what you've created, since the formatting tags are hidden. Smart programs try to anticipate what you are likely going to want, and so make decisions for you, like autocorrecting and formatting. All this makes any foray into Word a risky venture, for as soon as it doesn't do what you want it to, you will need to google, dive deep into menus and options, and probably learn more about Word than you ever wanted to.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *