I'm trying to add a multi-level numbering Style in Word 2016.

The Define New Number Format dialog (see image) appears to enable this.

But how does it work?

The text box to enter a style functions but appears to have a purely cosmetic effect (see red highlight in attached image); whatever you change does not affect the numbering style, it's just added in as static text.

Define New Number Format dialog:

(link removed because I lack rep)

Update 1:

I made progress by creating headings from scratch and giving them a Multilevel List format and then making them into Styles.

Right-clicking the numbering segment appears to give a useable dialog menu but there is a mysterious "4" (I don't know why it's not "3" for example) appearing there and sometimes in different positions in the dialog (see attached image). Can anyone figure out how to get Heading 2 behaving the same as all the others?

Multilevel List Dialog

_It's specifically selecting "Update Style to Match Selection" that changes the second level numbering to a "4"... how can updating a style to match the selection affect the selection itself?!

Update 2

I fixed the "4" but discovered that it still appears in the dialog box after being changed back to "1" and the style updated... can anyone figure out why?


"More" expansion of List Indents Dialog


That particular dialog box only lets you define the structure of a number in a "single level list", so there is no way AFAIK to introduce numbers from other levels.

The equivalent facility for multilevel lists does let you introduce numbers from the current or higher levels. If you go into that dialog and select (say) Level 3,

  • you can insert the level 1 or 2 numbers by selecting from the "Include Level Number From" dropdown;
  • if you happen to delete the Level 3 number, you can re-introduce it by selecting one of the number styles from the "Number Style for this level" dropdown.

These "level numbers" are highlighted with a gray background in the UI (so I would guess from the image that you posted that the first "1" is the level number and everything else is plain text. However, if you are not sure, you can get some idea of the structure by selecting everything in the text box, and pasting it into a blank area of your document. Then use Alt-F9 to toggle field code view on, and you should see some odd field codes like { DISPLAYNFC \l 1 } in the number structure. These indicate the presence of a "level number" and its level. (I haven't actually checked that in Word 2016 - you can see it in Word 2010, for example.)

As far as I know these field codes are undocumented and have no effect when actually placed in the main document - they are really to do with some internal Word that you get to see by accident

The "mysterious 4" usually comes from the "Start at" Option (in the "More >>" section of the dialog box). The fact that it may not appear to be applied to your document's numbering as well is probably an indication that the list number formatting you have set up may not actually have been applied as you expected.

  • Thanks so much for this. A pity that, after all these years, a core feature like numbered bullets can be undocumented... Please see my update above if you are interested in this. – Michael Apr 27 '16 at 8:25
  • Thanks so much! I fixed the "4" in the WYS but it is still there in the backend... please see my update :-) – Michael Apr 27 '16 at 12:10
  • Michael: you would still get the "4" if you had selected the ".4" item, but that's not what you describe. Other than that, I do not know for sure what would cause it. I would need a much deeper dive, which I may never do... – user181946 Apr 29 '16 at 9:01

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.