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    Alt. style linked to same list template: OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    I've got an outline numbering scheme where the first 4 levels are 1, 1.1, 1.1.1 and (a). The 4th level -- (a) -- sometimes ends up being used for substantive text paragraphs and sometimes for lists of short items (less than one line long). In the former case I want spacing between paragraphs, and in the latter case not.

    As an experiment, I just created a totally clean new document based on the Word 2002 default (straight out of the box) Normal template. Then I fastidiously set up a 9-level outline numbering scheme linked to the 9 Heading styles in the famous how-to-stay-out-of-trouble fashion. When I'd finished, I confirmed that the document had one (and only one) List Template.

    Here's the twist: Then I created a new style -- which I called Heading 4 SS -- which is "Based on" Heading 4, and with the only difference with Heading 4 being that I checked "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style" under Paragraph Format for Heading 4 SS. (In creating Heading 4 SS, I did not visit the Numbering dialog.) Then I re-checked the document's List Template count and it still had only one List Template, meaning that (as I'd hoped) Heading 4 SS is linked to the same List Template as Heading 4 (and the other 8 built-in Heading styles).

    I then tried formatting a series of paragraphs and the numbering scheme works exactly as intended.

    My question is this: Notwithstanding that everything is working fine now, does the fact that I have 2 different styles linked to the 4th level of the same List Template mean that I'm working with an unstable structure that is reasonably likely to act up at some point? Or am I probably safe (1) given that my 2nd link to the 4th level of the List Template is the indirect result of a "Based on" link to the directly-linked style and (2) assuming that I never independently modify the numbering formatting for the 2nd 4th-level style (i.e., assuming any change I ever make to level 4 of the List Template results from "digging to China" with the cursor in a Heading 1 paragraph)?

    An alternative, of course, would be to dispense with Heading 4 SS and simply implement the "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style" formatting as direct formatting when needed. But I understand that the recommended Word approach (I'm a newbie) is to minimize the use of direct formatting, so I thought the alternative-style approach might be the way to go.

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    Re: Alt. style linked to same list template: OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    I have created templates to do this in the past and so I would say that the document is relatively stable - kind of like glass - it can be very solid if you bang your head against it but it only takes one inquisitive person with a hammer to discover how fragile it is.

    One problem that may impact you is if you need to revisit the Bullets and Numbering dialog to make a change, you may discover that the two separate styles suddenly look the same again. For this reason, you do need to be careful with further list edits or develop a macro to redefine the linked styles. I would certainly suggest a macro is necessary to enforce the list template parameters because if you use the list gallery you will discover this is not stored exclusively in the document or template but actually resides somewhere else (registry most likely). This makes the outline list numbering dependent on what that user has chosen rather than what the author intended.

    Another likely gotcha is that sometimes it is difficult to apply this template to an already existing file and have the styles update correctly. When this happens to me I just paste the contents of the file into a new file based on the template, this seems to do the trick.

    For a newbie, you are living life dangerously - there are many old hands here who tremble at the sight of list outlines. Perhaps the list styles introduced with Word 2002 will solve the problems without resorting to macros but I am yet to be convinced.

    Don't let this discourage you from using templates like this. The elegance of the document and ease of applying consistent formats more than outweigh the disadvantages but you must have the macros backing you up because the lists will do funny things and without a macro these things will take a looooong time to rectify.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: Alt. style linked to same list template: OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    Thanks for the info.

    Is there a good article or two you can point me to (on the web) on using macros to control list numbering? (There used to be one called something like "How to cure Word numbering with a dose of VBA" but I've clicked on several different links to it that are all broken now.)

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    Re: Alt. style linked to same list template: OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    It must be temporarily unavailable at the Word MVP site. I just tried it & the link is broken. I've reported it to Dave Rado.

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