How do I create Paragraph Numbering that includes a Heading number

Brass Contributor


I'm trying to get some paragraph numbering sorted out using styles so it will all be automatic without anyone having to manually go in and reset values.

I have heading numbering all sorted out as that was relatively easy but I want the most recent heading number as a preface to the paragraph number.

i.e. For text

Heading Level 1



Heading Level 2



Heading level 3



I would hope to get something like this

1. Heading Level 1

1.1 Paragraph

1.2 Paragraph

1.1. Heading Level 2

1.1.1 Paragraph

1.1.2 Paragraph

1.1.1. Heading level 3 Paragraph Paragraph

I know this has some disadvantages in that a paragraph and heading could have the same number but this is something that can be worked through.

While it is possible to manually change the paragraph numbering style after each heading to simply put in text that represents the previous heading number this will end up with incorrect numbers as sections are added and removed from the document that changes the heading number. So I'm looking for a style that automatically inherits the most recent heading.

Thank you


12 Replies



You can set up a multilevel list which includes both heading and non-heading styles, using the principles described in Shauna Kelly's article at

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
I did mention that I had heading numbering sorted, though I have to admit that the article you referred me to is the best way I've seen of setting up heading numbering.
The issue is the paragraph numbering which I want to inherit the header number. The style I generally use for my paragraphs is Body Text, and unless I've missed something (entirely possible) I don't see how that can be done in the article.



As I wrote, you can include a body text style in a multilevel list, so that it replaces one of the heading levels. 


The alternative is that you keep the multilevel list of headings intact, and then create a body text style which is based on a heading. That way, the body text style will inherit the numbering of the selected heading style/level and reference its numbering.

My example illustrates how to do that with one heading style/one level. Your setup will require more than one "based-on" style.


Thank you for the clarification.
Just to make sure I understand correctly.

  • I would need multiple Body Text Styles, one based on Heading 2, one on Heading 3, etc.
  • I can set the following paragraph styles on the various heading levels; so that upon hitting enter on a heading the correct body text level number is used.
  • But if I edit the level of an existing heading (i.e. change a Heading 2 to a Heading 3), the existing follow on paragraphs do not automatically change and I would need to manually change their styles to the correct level.

Do I have this right?

best response confirmed by Gilgamesh1964 (Brass Contributor)



Yes, multiple body text styles will be required—one for each time you want to "reflect" the numbering of a corresponding numbered heading.


You can certainly make use of the "Style for following paragraph" setting (the way you can with any paragraph style in Word). For the most part, I suspect that you will have to explicitly apply the desired style, though, to achieve the desired format and number.


If you modify the numbering (in the Multilevel List dialog box), all "connected" styles will be affected: the Heading style as well as any body style which is based on the heading.

Thank you for all of your assistance.
It does seem that I will need to apply appropriate manual vigilance to ensure the numbering does not go awry. Ideally I had hoped that it could be entirely automatic but that does not seem possible.



As long as you don't need a single paragraph style to sometimes be level 1 and sometimes be level 2 (for example) in one and the same document, you should be able to set up your numbering with styles. 


Or are you saying that is precisely the limitation? You want numbering which isn't at all "dependent" on paragraph styles? That would be tricky in Word.

Hello @Gilgamesh1964 

it is possible to make it fully automated, as long as you accept (as you said) that there will be paragraphs with the same numbering.
Also, you need to think really carefully about the rules: you can have only one set of rules when setting up the rules of which level follows which. And I am not talking about Heading levels, but levels in the Multilevel list set.
I made a table for illustration, but you need to decide for yourself which paragraph number resets when and which level's number is included where. This is the maddening part ;-). 

If this doesn't make sense, post a new reply so that we can sort it out.


P. S. There is always a chance that you will see 0 in the paragraph number when a paragraph in the text follows a paragraph "out of the set rules". L.

Thanks for all of the useful info here. The current multi-level list works ok for me, but the 9 level restriction is a bit, well, restrictive.

I have added a request here to see if we can increase it:

@andez2k23 As it is very unlikely that the number of levels available in the Multi-Level List Numbering will ever be increased, if you can provide more information on what you want to do, we may be able to suggest another way of achieving it.

Perhaps uploading a document to a shared location may be the easiest way to demonstrate the requirement.