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  1. #1
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    Autonumbering bug in table cells

    My team edits and publishes technical for a our non-profit org. We have normative Annexes and informative Appendices in our specs. Because we take these and submit them to international standards organizations, we require Annexes begin with alpha characters and Appendices use Roman numerals (to avoid having to convert the numbering later). Some of our specs are 600+ pages. Therefore, we created our own custom heading styles, Annex 1, Annex 2, Appendix I, etc., based on "no style" but with custom autonumbering. When the autonumbering bug hits those styles I've learned the tedious process of going in and straightening them out. We've been using these styles since I believe Word '97, and we currently use Word 2010. The benefits far outweigh the occasional glitch with these styles.

    The real problem occurs within table cells without warning. It started in Word 2003 and continues in 2010. We use styles consistently, table heading and table text styles within tables. Not often but sometimes when we open up an existing document to edit it further, every cell within a table is 'auto-magically' autonumbered with a particular Annex heading style (I think Annex 4 occurs most often but not consistently). Within one document 40 out of 43 tables were affected, so last cell within the last table was autonumbered with something outrageous like A.42.623.1012! I have never found a single solution to correct this that works all the time. At first clicking on "Table Grid" (several years ago in Word 2003) seemed to work, but it ended up having unintended consequences later (I just can't remember what they were) and if I remember correctly it doesn't appear to be an option in 2010. Reapplying the correct style sometimes worked, but the last time it happened I think I had to select "None" in the numbering library - not a workable solution when you have hundreds, possibly thousands, of table cells within a document. It never happens with regular Heading styles, just the ones we created.

    Has anyone had this happen to them or are we just special? If so, any suggestions? I've had a trouble ticket in with our IT dept for several months with no help.

  2. #2
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    My suggestion is to try selecting and press Ctrl-Q to reset the paragraph formatting to the style definition. Assuming those numbers are not part of the paragraph style then the numbers should resolve themselves.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion! - I'm excited to try it the next time we're hit with the bug. I'll post again with the results.

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    Check for the presence of unlinked or char styles in the documents. They can cause the behavior you are seeing. My favorite? Twice, different clients, client files, months apart: On printing, the text suddenly was over the page limits. Turns out my 8 point footer style became heading 2 (14 points).

    The only place you can see char styles these days is in the Find Style dialog (In the find and replace dialog, click Format > Styles). If you see a lot of them (ignore the ones for headings 1 to 9), you should try to get rid of them. For your templates, the best thing may be to rebuild them in W2010. I usually can't do that, so I clean up the templates by deleting unused styles and deleting the unlinked styles. For existing documents, I paste them section by section--omitting the section marks and the last paragraph mark of the doc--into a new document based on the new template.
    Pam Caswell

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    Thanks for the info and help!

    Pam - Interesting thought! I hadn't considered char styles as the culprit. I've had extensive experience with removing them (you're right, you literally can never delete the heading 1, 2, etc char styles), particularly when getting ready to import our specs into requirements management software, Requisite Pro, so they would be as clean as possible. However, I wasn't seeing much return on that effort so have been ignoring them of late. Lesson learned!

    Thanks for the tip on where to find them; that's new to me! I was able to find a sample document where the auto-numbering was a problem in table cells, but only for PC users (Mac users didn't see it - sigh!) and I only found 3 char styles through the styles organizer, whereas I found 12 through your Find Style suggestion.

    Unfortunately, because many of our master spec files live within the Requisite Pro database (and ReqPro has its own special quirks), it's not practical to rebuild most of those docs (our largest spec has 740 pages and almost 3,500 tagged requirements). I'm particularly glad the autonumbering bug hasn't hit the tables in that document!

    As far as the I pasting section by section and omitting the section marks and the last paragraph mark of the doc into a new document based on the new template, that's another great idea for our docs that are not already in ReqPro. I knew the trick about not including the last paragraph mark, but didn't know about not including section marks.

    Wow, this has been great. This was my first post, and I've learned so much!

    Thanks to everyone in the Lounge who's willing to give up their time and help others with common Microsoft struggles.

  6. #6
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    Well it took 4 months, but I finally had an opportunity to try both fixes today, with the problem being stray and random bullets inside a table instead of auto-numbers. While the first one worked initially (CntrlQ), after we saved the document and opened it again the bullets were back like a bad apple.

    We then went to the char styles solution. Sure enough, we had a table cell char problem. After doing a global find/replace on table cell, then deleting the char style and reimporting the correct table cell style and doing another global find/replace back to our original table cell style, it was fixed. Saving and reopening worked fine, with the solution sticking this time.

    So thanks again! I've been dealing with this problem for years and to have a solution is priceless. I closed my helpdesk ticket with my company's IT dept. with the solution, and told them to let me know if I could be of further help to them ! (While they couldn't find the solution, at least they have a sense of humor!)

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    Thanks for letting us know how.
    Pam Caswell

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