How to restart style-based numbering
Applies to Windows Word versions 97 to 2003, with some variation in the manifestation of problems. Most of the information here is also relevant to Mac versions of Word, but has not been tested.
The most reliable way of creating numbered paragraphs is to use paragraph styles to apply the numbering. This makes all paragraphs with the same numbered style belong to the same numbered list, and numbering is continuous through the whole document.
For numbered headings, continuity of numbering is generally exactly what is wanted, but for many other types of numbering - for example, the numbered steps in a list of instructions - you would probably want the numbering to restart at the beginning of each new list.
To make sense of what is going on, you need to understand a few key details about numbered paragraph styles and 'list templates'. (If you want to go deeper, see Word's numbering explained.)
A list template defines a numbering scheme, including the form of number to be used and the tabs and indents for the numbered paragraphs. List templates can be multi-level or single-level. When a paragraph style is numbered or bulleted, the style is linked to a level of a list template.
There are two ways of setting up numbered styles and making this link. You can either do it manually, working from the style at the top level of the list template, as explained by Shauna Kelly in How to create numbered headings or outline numbering in your Microsoft Word document, or you can create the list template and link each level to the appropriate style using a VBA macro.
When you apply a numbered style to a paragraph, Word automatically applies the list template and list level linked to that style, and you do not need to access the list template directly. The result is that the paragraph will have the same list template and belong to the same numbered list as all other paragraphs in that style, and its numbering will simply continue from the previous paragraph in the style.
There are a number of different ways you can force the numbering to restart, each with advantages and disadvantages:
- Restart numbering manually with the Restart Numbering command. This is the 'out-of-the-box' method of restarting numbering, available from Word 2002. It sets a rather mysterious 'restart marker' as direct formatting on the first item in the list, which can cause problems if you copy and paste list items, reapply/reset styles, or change style definitions.
- Restart numbering using VBA. This method uses a macro to set the first list item to restart numbering. It was developed for use in Word 97 and Word 2000, which do not have a built-in Restart Numbering command. It has same problems as the manual method with respect to setting a 'restart marker'.
- Restart numbering automatically using a higher level style. This method makes use of the outline numbering mechanism that restarts numbering of a lower level paragraph after a higher one. Sometimes you can make use of a style already present in the logical structure to indicate the start or end of a list. Otherwise, you have to use a dummy style which does not print but still restarts lower level numbering. This method suits strictly style-based documents, but needs to be planned in advance.
- Restart numbering using LISTNUM fields. This method makes use of the fact that LISTNUM fields can refer to the same numbering schemes as numbered paragraphs, and can be used to set the number for a particular list level explicitly. This is a reliable ad-hoc method of restarting lists, but needs care and understanding if there are several numbering schemes in use in a document.
Warning: Avoid using the Format > Bullets and Numbering dialog to restart list numbering (and its equivalent, the ListGalleries collection, in VBA code). Accessing list templates via the list galleries has been implicated in building up extra list templates in documents, changing list template names, and losing links between list templates and styles.