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  1. #1
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    Question/Curious about MS Word Numbering Formats

    I have used MS Word outline numbering since Office '95 starting with military orders and followed Windows Secrets for almost as long. I am still dumbfounded over the decisions made in the MS Word basic programming for indenting and numbering schema.

    I have a MA and have used the Modern Language Association (MLA) guide, the Chicago Style for Students and Researchers, by Kate L. Turabian, and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) as required by professors. MS Word outlining isn't close to any of these. I continue to shake my head and wonder "Why?" these indents were set as the default every time I have to re-set or create a Style.

    Even if the programming team never had to turn in a paper, surly someone in the decision process had to and should have had them set to "something" reasonably usable. I haven't minded learning how to use the outlining, but the "Why," if any, behind the default levels escapes me. I canít imagine any business using default schema, it eats up too much white space. Iíd be willing to bet Microsoft doesnít.

    Anyone have any insight? And why it has never been fixed? I have read of the backwards compatibility desire for levels, but I haven't ever seen the default indenting and numbering schema used. So the point is moot.

    TIA

    Ron

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure that I understand what indents you are objecting to, but I an offer this: For each of the styles you need to work to, you can set up a template that has a number scheme with the correct indents for that style. In later versions of Word, you can create and name list styles. Both of these options mean you could avoid seeing the defaults.

    Pam

  3. #3
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    Thanks Pam for the reply. My "witch" is over the default settings. My outlines have all been altered, so I can't provide them for reference. I was helping a colleague and had to deal with "fixing" their styles and it brought back all my exasperation and questioning. But in regular numbering as an example, turning on numbers automatically indents the number .25" and the next level another .5 to .75 and all with hanging indents. Why indent the first numbers at all? The entire US military that purchases MS Office uses left aligned numbered paragraphs. Not like they are a small customer. I can remember when the US Army changed the specified font because it was too difficult to teach people how to change every single copy of Word from Times New Roman. And I have to assume too difficult to change the normal.doc or normal.docx in the enterprise edition.

    The levels will go from 1 to lower case letters then lower case Roman numerals and then to 1 again. Again, all with hanging indents. I have to assume the "Why" is to show off the product, and not to provide something usable "as is." I say that because the numbers don't seem to follow any generally acceptable writing standard.

  4. #4
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    Shiseiji, for what little it's worth, I've had exactly the same complaints since getting Word 2007. I hate indented lists, and my company's style guide specifically says not to use them for the first level of lists. And yes, I fixed the style so it wasn't indented, but as soon I restart my list, BANG! Word decides I really, REALLY want it indented.

  5. #5
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    OK, I wondered whether you were talking about the bullet buttons or a list from the multilevel list library. You also don't say which version of Word you are using. I would use the number buttons are for lists of up to three levels and that a multilevel list should be used otherwise. Note that you can revise the list for the numbering button for all new documents by modifying normal.dotm. Because the list for the number buttons is a multilevel list, by clicking define new multilevel list, with while the cursor is in the first level 1 in the document, you can change the settings for al new documents based on normal.dotm.

    I don't know why the first level bullet is indented. I don't like it either. But believe it or not, there's a great diversity of opinion, internationally, on many formatting subjects and list indention is one of them.

    Cheers,
    Pam

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