Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Another round with multilevel lists

    Once again, after a year or so of respite, I am struggling with the Multilevel List Monster.

    I am trying to define a series of multilevel list styles that all work the same way in different section levels with different left margins. For example, Heading 1 has a left indent of 0"; its Next Paragraph Style is Normal, which also has a left indent of 0". I need a corresponding list style whose level 1 has a left indent of, say, 0.25". Heading 2 has a left indent of 0.5"; its Next Paragraph Style is Normal 2, which also has a left indent of 0.5". I need a corresponding list style whose level 1 has a left indent of 0.75". And so on.

    As a test, I created two multilevel list styles named List style 1 and List style 2. They don’t have different indents, but they have other differences that make them easy to tell apart.

    I can create a multilevel list by starting a new paragraph, setting its style to List style 1 or List style 2, and typing. The whole list is formatted in the requested style. So far, so good.

    After that, things fall apart.

    If a part of the document is changed to a different heading level, I need to change the style of any ML lists it contains. I can’t make that work cleanly.

    First, I placed the insertion point at the start of the first entry in a List style 1 list. The Apply Styles dialog said that the paragraph’s style was List Paragraph, a style that I never applied. So how can I tell what list style was applied?

    I used Apply Styles to set List style 2. After I pressed Enter, Apply Styles told me that the first paragraph’s style was still List Paragraph. And the list’s style didn’t change – not even the first entry, where the insertion point was.

    I selected the entire list and tried again. This changed the entire list's style as requested -- except for the first entry, which didn’t change.

    I found that I could change the style of the entire list by selecting the list and then using the “Multilevel list” dropdown in the Ribbon. But the dropdown shows the list styles iconically -- and it doesn’t show their names! So I can apply list styles with the dropdown, but I can't tell which style is which, and I can tell which style is which in the Apply Styles dialog, but I can’t apply them.

    If I float the mouse pointer over a ML list item in the List Styles part of the dropdown, it sometimes shows the style’s name in a balloon. Sometimes it doesn’t. I haven’t figured out why, or how to make it display the name when it doesn’t want to. So if I want to apply a particular list style, I must move the mouse pointer from style to style, asking “Are you the style I want? Are you the style I want?” until I find The One. Except that sometimes it won't let me.

    Meanwhile, the Styles dialog doesn’t show ML styles at all, even when it’s set to show “All styles.”

    I’ve noticed that the dropdown sometimes shows ML list styles and sometimes doesn’t. I think it’s hiding them (sometimes) when the insertion point isn’t in a ML list, which means that the dropdown is useless for starting a new numbered list. Since the Apply Styles dialog appears to be useless for changing a list’s style, I have to use both interfaces – one for creating lists, the other for changing them. After I get this to work I have to explain it to users whose grasp of Word may be tenuous. I’m not confident that I will be able to do so.

    The vertical spacing of items in the list is controlled by the magic List Paragraph style. The whole list. Every list.

    This gives me two choices for spacing. If I disable List Paragraph's “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” property, I can have any amount of space between list entries, but the amount of space before the first entry and/or after the last is the same as for every other entry in the list. If I enable “Don’t add space,” I can have any amount of space I want before the first entry and after the last, but there is no space between entries at all.

    Unfortunately the style guide requires one amount of space before the first list entry and a smaller amount between entries. In a flat list this is easy to accomplish with “Style for following paragraph.” In a ML list it seems to be impossible.

    I don't have a need for different spacing in different lists. That's lucky; it's something else that would be easy to do with flat lists, and appears to be impossible with ML lists.

    In general, it seems to me that Microsoft created a completely new model for multilevel list formatting and styles instead of extending the one used everywhere else. Then they let some of the original style model's UI components affect the ML list model as well, but sometimes in unintuitive or possibly random ways. Is that an accurate assessment, or is there some underlying logic to this stuff that I’ve missed?
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2013-02-28 at 11:17.

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    690
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 66 Times in 56 Posts
    In W2007-13, when autonumber list levels that are not linked to paragraph styles are applied to normal paragraphs, Word changes paragraph style from normal to List Paragraph. Paragraphs that are not in the normal style are not changed. This is probably the cause of the seemingly inconsistent style changes. I could not duplicate your results: I got the same result whether I applied the list from Apply Styles or from the multilevel list library.

    Since you are used to using styles, why not use the built-in List Number styles?

    [More tomorrow.]
    Pam Caswell

  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I was able to duplicate what you explained about List Paragraph, which solves one of the puzzles... but unfortunately not in a very useful way.

    It suggested to me that if I started with a paragraph set to one of my flat list styles instead of Normal, I'd get the type of vertical spacing I need. I started with my style for level-1 flat numbered lists, named Numbered, which has Space Before = 8 pt and Next Paragraph Style = Numbered+; Numbered+ has Space Before = 4 pt and Next Paragraph Style = itself. The spacing was right, but when I pressed Enter after typing the first entry, Word dropped out of the multilevel list when it changed the paragraph style. It didn't apply the numbering associated with Number+, either; it gave me no numbering at all. I had to re-apply the list style.

    I wondered, was that because the numbering associated with Numbered and Numbered+ get confused with the numbering associated with the list? I tried the same trick with two unnumbered styles and the problem went away, but a different one appeared. When Word started the second list entry and shifted from the "first entry" style to the "second and later" style, it thought it was starting a new list, and numbered the second list item "1." I had to apply "continue numbering" to correct that.

    Both work-arounds are effective, but both are too bizarre to explain to a non-expert user.

    I'm not sure what you mean about "built-in list number styles." I searched for that term and found a half-dozen references, but no explanation. My guess is the built-in styles under "List Library" in the multilevel list menu, but I don't see how using those would help me... all but the first are so far from what I need that modifying them would be as much work as creating my own from scratch, and it seems to me that the result would be the same.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    J., I wish I had pictures to go with your descriptions above because I'm having a hard time following some of your verbal explanations. Even so, I'm wondering if part of the problem has to do with the style that your custom styles are based on. In our office, I always recommend that you base ALL the styles in your Quick Style Set on Normal style. That's the first thing.

    The second thing is to create an autonumbering set of styles that chain to each other in an outline so that Style #2 always starts over after Style #1, and Style #3 always starts over after Style 2, etc.

    Third, we set up sets of autonumbering styles where, e.g., Style L1 is the first numbered paragraph in the document. We also created Style LT1 (T=Text) for those paragraphs that should mimic Style L1 in all but the numbering; that is, Style LT1 has no number but is otherwise formatted (margins, spacing, tabs, etc.) to look just like Style L1. Style L2 starts over after each instance where Style L1 is applied. Style LT2 looks just like Style L2 except that Style LT2 has no number, and so on.

    Fourth, you can have different sets of numbered paragraphs in the same document, e.g., call one set L1 and call another set M1 and a third set N1. Style L1 would have 9 levels of numbering in its outline and Styles M1 and N1 would each have their own 9 levels of numbering, but with different numbers.

    And last but not least, when you need to fix, say, Style L5, you go back to the first time Style _L1_ is applied in the document, click open the Define New Multilevel List tool, and reset all the levels of numbering under the L1 style (for the Styles L#; if Style M3 is broken, go back to Style M1 to fix it). 99 times out of a 100, when you click OK and close the DNML window, all of your autonumbering problems have resolved themselves.

    The most important part of creating numbering styles sets like these is that you assign a style to each level of auto-numbering. That's why we created the styles called L1; so that within the DNML window you set up the first level of an outline and assign the style named L1 to that level. Assign Style L2 to the second level of your outline, and so on. In fact, you could name the styles Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty if you wanted to as long as, in this case, Fred = L1, Wilma = L2, Barney = L3, and so on. So it's not the name of the style that causes the outline to work; it's that you use the styles consistently throughout your document.

    Does that help any??
    Cyndie Browning
    Tulsa, Oklahoma USA
    Last edited by CyndieBrowning; 2013-03-01 at 15:25. Reason: Just wanted to separate the paragraphs enough so that it would be easier to read.

  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    690
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 66 Times in 56 Posts
    I should have written "built-in list number paragraph styles". But let's forget about that now because I got the impression from your first post that your multilevel list had just one level--you didn't mention any others.

    What you saw with Numbered and Numbered+ and a autonumber list that is not linked to paragraph styles is normal Word behavior. When typing a list, for the numbering to continue, the next paragraph after an Enter must be the same paragraph style. The tutorial Bullets, Numbers, and Lists gives some good information about lists. If I had known this information 10 years ago, I might be using the bullets and numbers buttons more often than I do and I would understand more about multilevel lists that are not linked to styles.

    To get the behavior you want: in the numbering dialog, link each numbering level in the list to a paragraph style--a different paragraph style for each level and for each list, a different set of styles (if you want different list styles for the contents in headings 1 and 2). You'll be able to start a list by applying a paragraph style or your list style. You'll be able to change list levels also by applying the paragraph style that is linked to the level you want or by promoting or demoting a paragraph sing the indent keys or shft+tab and tab.
    Pam Caswell

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to PamCaswell For This Useful Post:

    CyndieBrowning (2013-03-01)

  7. #6
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Pam: I haven't tried linking the list levels to paragraph styles yet because it looks like a lot of work, and so far I haven't found a comprehensible explanation of what the technique is supposed to do! Without some understanding of where I'm headed, I can't judge whether I'm building a solution to my problem or a bridge to nowhere.

    I gather that the tutorial you mentioned, "Bullets, Numbers, and Lists," concerns building lists without linked styles, the technique I already (more or less) understand. Do you know of a good or even semi-good tutorial on the linked-style approach?

    A note on why I say "a lot of work": my style sheet uses a different level of indention for each heading level, so it seems to me that I'd need a complete set of outline-level paragraph styles for each heading level, just as I have a different "Normal" style for each level, a different caption style, etc.

    Also, it's not clear how linking outline levels to paragraph styles would enable me to put more space before the first entry in a list than before the other entries. Since I don't understand how the technique works yet, I'm not going to insist that it can't... I just don't see how it can.

    Cyndie: I didn't understand a lot of what you said. I guess I'm having the same problem with your text-only responses that you had with my text-only questions. I'm attaching a document that contains the relevant styles and shows how they're used.

    At the risk of diverting this discussion into a religious debate, I don't agree with your recommendation that all styles be based on Normal. To me it seems like a bad idea, just as it's a bad idea for a programmer to write every function or class from scratch, regardless of what they have in common. If styles A, B, C, D, E, and F have the same values in eleven properties and different values in one property, B through F should be based on A and should override just the property that is different. If any of the other properties must be changed, they can then be changed in one place (style A) rather than everywhere they're used.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. #7
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    690
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 66 Times in 56 Posts
    Another bit of craziness here. When I create this list it starts at 4, as a continuation of the preceding list numbered list, despite the fact that it uses a different style. And when I apply “Start at 1” to it, Word spontaneously changes its style to Number, the style that the first list used! If I change the style back to Number 2, Word changes its number back to 4. There seems to be no way to convince Word that this is neither the list’s style nor its number is linked to the previous list. The same thing happens to the level-3 list in section 1.1.1.
    This is happening because none of your ML lists are applied to those items. The 1, a, i, 1, a, i,... list that shows as the current list for those items is the multilevel list applied when you click the number button. Apply the right ML list and, after adjusting the levels and the number the list should be coherent.

    If you don't link the list levels to paragraph styles but must meet your spacing requirements, you'll have to apply your paragraph styles to the list before applying the list style. Then adjust the list levels by changing the indents.

    On the other hand, if the numbers levels are linked to different styles, you can apply the list or the paragraph style to get the numbering and, to change levels for subsequent lines, either change the list level or apply a different paragraph style.

    Yes, modifying your list styles will take time, but you'll save typing and/or formatting time and have a more consistent and easier to maintain document in the end. If the document you are preparing is short or a one time job, the manual method may be fine. But if the document is long and if you need to use the numbering in other documents, I strongly recommend the second option.
    Pam Caswell

  9. #8
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Pam, I'm apparently going to have to learn to used linked paragraph styles by trial and error, since no one has come forward with a source of information that goes beyond the cookbook level. I made my first sortie today, but based on the results, I'm not sure I want to continue.

    I spent about 15 minutes defining a set of paragraph styles and a multilevel list style that linked to them. I didn't particularly like the results, so I closed the document without saving it and reloaded it. Then I opened the multilevel list menu and found that the experimental list style I created was still there.

    I don't know what Word did -- store the list style in the template without asking, or seal it in a toy balloon and swallow it? Whatever, I do not want it in my document, and having it appear there after I closed without saving is unacceptable.

    I hope you can explain what Word did, and show me how to avoid it, and avoid any other little surprises that Word may have in store for me. If not, I'm probably going to declare this whole feature off limits and go back to numbering lists by hand.

  10. #9
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    690
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 66 Times in 56 Posts
    I can't explain it. If happened to me, particularly if I couldn't do it again, I'd guess that I had saved the file without remembering (all too typical of me, actually). You can delete list styles in Manage Styles or the Organizer.


    In your multilevel list file, you have three lists. ML list 1, ML list 2, and ML list 3 and two paragraph styles for each heading list. They are Number, Number +, Number 2, Number 2+, Number 3, and Number 3+. Following your naming convention, you need to create the Number ++, Number 2++, and Number 3++ paragraph styles.

    For the new and existing paragraph styles, set the left margins to zero and set the numbering to none.

    Right click the ML List1 list style and left click Modify > Format button > Numbering. Click the More button in the lower left of the dialog.
    Link number levels 1, 2, and 3 to Number, Number +, Number ++, respectively.
    Now to set the number positions (indents). Click level 1 again. In the Position section of the dialog, set the aligned at value to .5", the text indent to .75", and the Add tab stop to .75". Click the set for all levels button and set the additional indent for each level to .25". If everything else is OK the list is done.

    The paragraph spacing is not part of the list setup. You can adjust the paragraph spacing by modifying the paragraph styles.
    Pam Caswell

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •