As part of my role as Senior User Centered Design Analyst I find myself working more with Word typing up reports and analysing designs and user interaction patterns as apposed to coding and design these days. Yesterday I found out a great trick in Word, and I use the word trick very loosely here as it is a standard feature of Word that I just hadn’t tapped into before now. Using the Numbering icon I can auto number rows in my tables, and if I change the order of the information in the rows the numbers automatically update for me. Magic? no, handy? YES…

For instance I was writing up an evaluation report which had over 50 findings (1 per row), as I was working in draft I would type up the findings in no particular order. During the time between draft and final stage I wanted to move the rows around so there was some logical flow to my findings. This quickly become a time issue when I moved the rows as I would then need to re-number my rows, this was all before I knew about auto-number.

By setting auto number in the first column of each row, every time I tab to create a new row, the new row is given the next number.

Heres how you can Autonumber your Word Table too.

  1. Create your table in Word
  2. Place your cursor in the column you want to be the number column. (Most common for my documents is the first). Now press the Numbering icon. Looks like this numbering
  3. Note that a number 1. will now be displayed in the column. Insert another row and number 2. will be displayed and so on.
  4. Thats it, start typing and forget worrying about numbering your rows.

Easy…. Now for some format and output options.

What if you want to restart your numbers? right click on the list and choose restart numbering. This will end the number sequence from the point your cursor is placed and start again at 1. You and contine the sequence by choosing continue numbering from the right-click menu also.

What if you want letters not numbers? right click and choose bullets and numbering. From this window you can choose the customise button and even change the format of your numbers from 1. to 001. if you preferred that output. That is a handy one for me as I prefer a more structured and a uniform look.

Hope this tech tip helps you out. Until the next one…

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