Automatic Paragraph Numbering (APN)

The below is a primer on Microsoft's Automatic Paragraph Numbering system, and how it ties into Pathagoras. It makes for interesting reading for those who what to know, but it may be TMI for some.
If 'background' is not what you want, skip to here.

         A beautiful sight to behold during paragraph assembly is automatic and accurate renumbering of items in a list (single words, clauses and even entire paragraphs) as new content is added to your document. Whether the added text is at the end of an existing list, or smack-dab in the middle of it, the individual items end up properly renumbered.

 To give credit where credit is due, the magic comes from Microsoft. It's all Word and 'none' Pathagoras. But even Word cannot handle it if the numbering styles (and sometimes even the numbering source) among the paragraphs being assembled or the clause being inserted, are not consistent. (So, as you will see, it a little bit Pathagoras.) So let's talk a little bit about that.

 APN works because the various paragraph that are re-numbering talk to one another. The fifth paragraph knows to number itself 5 because it is communicating the 4 before it. This communication involves checking to make sure the style of each paragraphs are the same.

       If text from one document is inserted into the text of another document (and using different documents is what paragraph assembly is all about), the joined documents may not have the same style names. The result is that the paragraphs cannot present the hoped for renumbering.

 The trick to make sure that the numbering schemes for the various assembled documents are consistent with each other.

 When you disassemble a clause that contains automatic paragraph numbering (APN), and if you intend to use that paragraph with other paragraphs that following the same numbering scheme, you will be perfectly ok. The styles from the parent document was carried into the styles of the newly disassembled documents.

 But, don't expect a paragraph introduced by a bullet, or a paragraph from an 'outline' that you want to insert in a simple numbered list to 'behave' the way you want. It cannot (except accidentally so). The styles/schemes do not match, and Word (and Pathagoras) cannot put that square peg into the round hole.

 One important concept: Word 'styles' are 'secretly' embedded in the final paragraph marker of a paragraph. If you want to preserved the numbering style, you must include the pilcrow that ends the paragraph. If, on the other hand, you want the text (and only the text), you won't want to include the pilcrow as you disassemble. The coding that controls APN is in that pilcrow. But since this is a lesson on APN, we assume you will include the pilcrow.

 You can always renumber or correct bad numbering using Word tools. The 'Format Painter' is likely the easiest tool. The Format Painter is the paint brush icon you see in the Home tab in Word's menu bar. If you don't know about Format Painter, click the link above. (The link takes you to Microsoft's Help System.)

tipYou can force the badly numbered text into the previous, properly numbered paragraph. (To do so, backspace at the beginning of the 'bad' paragraph, or press Delete at the end of the previous paragraph, to intentionally append the 'bad' text to the good. Then hit 'Enter'. That 'Enter' should cause the APN of the previous paragraph to be applied to the new text.

         Because of its plain text underpinnings, Pathagoras is compatible with any numbering scheme you have adopted. However, Microsoft's rules and requirements must be adhered to. They are discussed below.

         Also discussed below is a plain text approach to APN. Just insert the characters '#. ' where you want a new number and Pathagoras will oblige.


See also