In Microsoft Word, I am laying out a process in steps. Each page pretty much is a new step that begins with a header like:

3. Drive the body to a secure location

I would like the numbers to automatically increment, particularly if later on I decide to add a new step somewhere in the middle.

Does anyone know how I can achieve that in the simplest way? I already have a working Table of Contents and I'd prefer not doing something that would mess with that, if possible to avoid.


A heading style (custom or built in) can have numbers. Select or modify a style to include numbering and use that on the text. If you apply the style to your header lines they will get numbered sequentially even if other content is placed between them or they are moved around/deleted etc.

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  • Awesome! Thanks! But I'm having a problem because the Table Of Contents is being given a 1. but I don't want that to be one of the numbered headers. I want it to start with the next header. Do you know how to get around that? – CodyBugstein Jun 25 '13 at 23:20
  • Use a different style that looks the same but without numbers for the Table of Contents title. – Brian Jun 26 '13 at 3:50
  • 1
    Actually I was able to right click on the number preceding the section where I wanted the numbers to start and select "Start From Here" (or something like that). It's all good now! – CodyBugstein Jun 26 '13 at 15:50

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