Automatic chapter numbering?

I’m starting a chaptered document and want automatically incrementing chapter numbers. I am using Office Win10 x64. The examples refer to items not in my Office menus.

I can define a Header 1 to contain Chapter and numbering 1, 2, 3, …

When I try using Header 1, it contains “Chapter 1” for all 140+ pages, despite many page breaks.

Ideally I want the current chapter number showing on only the first page after the page break, and I want each chapter numbered, much as I was doing a numbered list.

How do I do this?

Have a look on:

. (4 Chapter Headings; 5 Chapter Numbering)

. (7.2 Organize and number chapters)

1 Like

Your question seems to mix chapter numbering and page header. Please edit your question (don’t enter an answer) to better describe the expected result.

The reason I mentioned headers was because I followed a how-to for Writer that, from the description, should have accomplished what I wanted to do. It obviously doesn’t. Strike most of my question.

For the moment, I want to table this question.

@grantler - the first reference, to the Apache writer leaves me baffled - was that to suggest an alternate editor?
The reference to “To Tame a Writer” appears to be the answer to my question. Hold that thought until I spend more time in that document. :slight_smile:

To Tame a Writer doesn’t seem to address “I’m writing a book of prose” It seems to be oriented to writing documents closer to a manual or academic document, with section numbering, indices, footnotes, etc., etc.

I can’t find how to do:
chapter begins, chapter number above 1st para for chapter, no chapter number on following pages, chapter begins, chapter number above 1st para for chapter, no chapter number on following pages, wash, rinse, repeat.

In my document, each chapter starts with an inserted page break, excluding page 1, para 1

In Writer, everything is a matter of style. A style is defined as a named set of “typographic attributes” such as font face or weight, indents (= paragraph margins), spacing above and below, “flow attributes” like page/column/section break before or after and “structure attributes” such as body text/outline, numbering.

Styles may be define for a full paragraph and will apply as a whole or for short sequences (aka. character style) overriding the underlying paragraph appearance. There are also styles for pages, frames and numbering counters (aka. list styles).

The name of a style should describe its semantics, not its appearance. E.g., Body Text is intended for the discourse while Heading 1 marks a paragraph as a first level heading (colloquially q chapter title). Think of the style names as markup tags structuring your document.

Many features of Writer rely on proper use of a small number of built-in styles.

This is the case of the chapter numbering and TOC construction. Titles of chapter should be written in Heading 1 style. You give a paragraph this style by selecting it from the drop-down menu in the toolbar. When you hit the Return key at the end of your chapter title, style automatically switch to Body Text for the chapter contents. You must reselect Heading 1 when you start a new chapter. The same goes with sub-titles as Heading 2-9.

Out if the box, Heading n are not auto-numbering. This must be enabled through a little procedure I won’t describe for the time being.

If you have “Chapter 1” repeated on every page of your document, then you probably didn’t type it in the correct page location. A page style defines several dedicated areas within a page: header, main contents, footer. Header and footer areas are unique for a single style and whatever you write in them is repeated unchanged on every page. To see the limits, check both View>Text Bondaries and View>Formatting Marks.

Another cause of repetition may be the incorrect choice of field variable in the header. The most recent Heading 1 title can be echoed in the header through Insert>Field>More Fields. If you try Cross-references, Headings type, you will select a given heading which will be statically copied into the header. To get a dynamic effect, you must use Document, Chapter type and select a format like Chapter number and name.

If none of these explanations fix your problem, attach a reduced version of your document to your question (use edit, not an answer which is reserved for solutions).

Also, beware of header and heading. Both words are close to each other but cover different things. Header is a style intended for text repeated on every page in the header area. Heading n are styles used to collect structuring headings and later build a TOC from this information. “Headings” are titles interspersed inside your document to describe synthetically what follows.

To show the community your question has been answered, click the ✓ next to the correct answer, and “upvote” by clicking on the ^ arrow of any helpful answers. These are the mechanisms for communicating the quality of the Q&A on this site. Thanks!

Thank you for your extensive reply. I appreciate it very much. That said…


This is hunting hummingbirds with howitzers.


It appears that I must do extensive setup work to add a line with a word, a number, and one or more blank lines before para 1. My requirement is no more complex than a John Grisham law thriller or Louis L’Amour western thriller.


Further 150+ pages or approximately 50K words into my work, I shudder to think I must transfer them from my unstyled document to a new, styled document.


I’m disappointed that Writer requires so much complexity for a simple task.

Styles are the basics in Writer (and in M$ Word to a lesser extent because the notion of style has not been pushed that far). However, the task is not as complex as you think. It is a good idea to save a copy of your work before starting in case something goes wrong. Styling your document is a one-click procedure. I hope that you didn’t use the dreaded formatting buttons in the toolbar. They allow to quickly experiment effects but then conflict with the styling system (more exactly, they override attributes set by styles).

First set a default for your text: select all (Ctrl+A and select Body Text from the drop-down menu. All your text is now “contents”. Put the cursor in your chapter headings, select Heading 1. Do the same for the sub-chapter titles with Heading n. You’re done.

If you now want to change the appearance of your document, you only have to modify the styles Body Text and Heading n, a one-shot operation, and magically all the document is updated. Handy!

Here’s a sample of how the project, wanting numbered chapter titles (headers??) before para 1, exists in the Writer space. Sample

I used the Lorem doc to follow, I hope, the above how-to. Either I’ve missed a detail or I don’t see the value of using a header over just typing “Chapter 1”. See how the following sample: Text with Header 1 containing Chapter 1
Please keep in mind the goal is to auto-number the chapter number as I continue the text.

The light is slowly dawning. I tweaked the Header 1 definition to include numbers and “Chapter” as a separator. “All” that remains is modifying the font, etc. to fit my needs.

I’ve got the info I asked for (Auto-number chapters) so I think this thread can be marked as “mission accomplished”. Great thanks for the education and patience.

Remember that “styling” is the only way to tell Writer “this is a heading”, “discourse”, “footnote”, “citation”, “quotation”, etc. Otherwise everything is plain text and Writer can’t apply its powerful formatting abilities. It needs this information to make a difference between blocks of characters.

this thread can be marked as “mission accomplished”

Only you can do that because the question is tours: click on the gray checkmark at the top left of the answer (only once! it turns green but it might take some time. Don’t click twice even if you don’t see the change immediately because it will toggle back to gray at last). Your “karma” is presently too low to allow you to upvote a “valuable” answer.