Working with multiple number list all starting with 1 with different offsets

I am having difficulty with working with multiple lists where each list may have an initial start location on a line and must start with the first entry as item number 1. For example I want my first list to be indented to 0.5 inches with the numbers right justified, a second list to start at a 3 inch indent with the numbers right justified and starting at 1, a third list like the first, and so on.

My understandng is (though I must not understand) that for the first list, I should choose a list style, say List 1, modify the List 1 style on the Outline and Numbering tab with the following values: Outline Level + Level 1, Numbering Style = Numbering123, then edit the Numbering Style with the following values: Aligned at: 0.5", Numbering alignment = Right, Numbering followed by = Tab Stop, Tab stop at = 0.8, Indent at = 0.8.

After that I have tried using List 2 with Ouline Level - 1 (and 2) and Numbering Style = Numbering123, and setting the edit values of Numbering123 to the following: aligned at = 2", Numbering alignment = Right, Numbering followed by = Tab Stop, Tab stop = 2.1", Indent = 2.1".

If I use either Level 1 or 2,The first list alignment is changed to the second list settings. Also, even though I use Format > Lists > Restart Numbering, the numbering begins with 2 and the last item in the list has a number of 1.

Obviously I do not understand this at all. Hopefully someone can clear this up for me.

Do you mean multiple separate lists, or a single list structure with multiple levels?

Multiple separate lists.

Lists are a bit obscure in the doc, but the basic principles are quite simple. A list needs two styles:

  • a paragraph style to set typographic attributes (except indents which are defined by the following)
  • a counter, defined by a list style which also sets the left (in LTR scripts) indent and “number” alignment at all “levels”

Note: from my experiments, don’t try to play with right indent, it causes a real mess to happen.

Lists are ubiquitous in Writer. The feature is used to implement headings, which are then collected to build the TOC. However, the need to have a richer layout for headings, the paragraph style is not unique but split level per level: they are the famous Heading n family. But their “counter” is an implicit, reserved one: the Tools>Chapter Numbering.

Let’s get back to lists.

To turn an ordinary paragraph style into one fit for list, you must associate it with a counter in the Outline & Numbering tab. You have two possibilities:

  • Outline level: if you change from Body text, the paragraph will be associated with a specific level of chapter numbering and becomes a heading (collected into the TOC); hence, don’t choose this option for “common” list

    Why would you choose to incorporate a non Heading n paragraph to the heading hierarchy? For specific cases where you want a different numbering sequence within your heading, e.g. alphabetic sequence after numeric chapters.

  • Numbering style: the counter (and its formatting) for the list

In you case, there are several errors induced by the lack of understanding of the list feature:

  • Reset Outline level to Body text because there is no reason to insert your list in the TOC

  • Since you associated both paragraph styles to “list” style Numbering 123, they are both part of the same list and the settings in Numbering 123 apply to both (the last setting takes precedence).

    I assume you didn’t play with the specific levels in the Position tab and stayed with the “1-10” settings which are common to all levels.

To set up independent lists, you must associate the paragraph style with separate counters (list styles). List 1 paragraph style can be linked to Numbering style, but List 2 must be associated with another one. List styles can be freely created, just like other styles. For example, you can right-click on Numbering 123 in the style side-pane and New to duplicate it.

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This answer is very concise. Don’t hesitate to ask clarification through a comment.

Just wanted to mention (for completeness) that there are two different PoVs to lists usage in Writer. One is that lists need a dedicated paragraph style associated with own list style (as @ajlittoz described); and another (that e.g. personally I prefer) to not create dedicated paragraph styles, but simply create necessary list styles and apply them as needed (this approach reduces complexity and style clutter IMO). Each approach has upsides and downsides, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” approach here, but when using lists, consistency in a chosen approach is needed.

@mikekaganski: could you elaborate on your method? I don’t see how you apply a list style without linking it to a paragraph one. Is this akin to direct formatting? I’m always looking for reduction of complexity. This is timely appropriate since I’m presently reviewing my preferred template.

Well - I don’t know what “direct formatting” means here - in a sense that any application of, say, character style to a text span is akin to direct formatting in a sense. Yes, I directly apply the list style to selected paragraphs, so in that sense, it might be said to resemble direct formatting… but the main properties of styled approach is having a named set of properties applied consistently to semantically correct elements of the document; and in that sense, defining, say, 5 list styles for each semantically distinct list use (as usual), but applying them to possibly same paragraph style (in most trivial case, right to Text Body - but of course, I could use also the pre-defined set of “List 1*” to have start/end/etc styled appropriately, without using “List 2*” etc), allows me to centrally format lists later - as usual.

Of course, that requires that my lists be styled rather uniformly: if I later decide that list N needs a different line spacing, I’m out of luck - but …

… that would typically indicate to me that I use inconsistent styling in my text, which is not what I usually seek. So my usage (aimed at uniformity) makes this method convenient and flexible enough to my needs, but - as I said - there are downsides, of course.

I hope I correctly understood what you wanted to hear about my usage; sorry if I didn’t cover something that interests you, and please ask for clarifications.

@mikekaganski: I think I sorted out how you do that: you double-click on a list style while the cursor is in the target paragraph. I didn’t even imagine this could be done. (One learns everyday!) Unfortunately, this does not fit in my workflow where I want to be able to radically change the document aspect only from style editing (unless I’m wrong and this use of list style is not “direct formatting”).

@ajlittoz: to understand the “direct formattedness” of “my” approach, we need to discuss a specific change case, and what would be required in each case with “your” and “my” approaches. And I know that there are cases when “your” approach would allow more, so no doubt that “linking list style to paragraph style” has strong rationale, regardless of if “my” approach is useful sometimes or not :slight_smile:

To emphasize that lists are in some sense orthogonal to paragraphs, consider that e.g. one list item may consist of several paragraphs (that is what happens when you “insert unnumbered entry”: the ODF then contains a markup where one list item XML element includes several paragraph elements).

@mikekaganski:I may not use the list feature as it is “intended”. This needs to be discussed. Thanks for your offer. As this may not be of interest (aat least in the preliminary exchanges) for the community, contact me at ajlittoz (at) users (dot) sourceforge (dot) net and I’ll send you a private @address.

So just to be sure I am on the right track, here’s what I understand. First, I should choose a paragraph style (say Default Style). Then I should modify that style and let Outline level be Body text and a corresponding List style to define my Numbering style (say List1). Then I should edit List1 under Numbering style to define my list and numbering characteristics. If I want another List style with different characteristics, I need to use a different List style and Numbering style. In all cases, I use Body text. I also never change level; it should always be 1

Never, never, … (repeat 7 times) use Default Style for any paragraph in a document and even more never customise it for a single paragraph. You’ll create an unmanageable mess because everything you change in Default Style is automatically transferred to all other styles. What you set in Default Style should be valid, formatting-wise, for all styles.

Numbered lists are in principle formatted by Numbering n styles.

Choose Numbering 1 for the first list. If you need a second independent intermixed list, use Numbering 2. If your lists are several paragraphs apart (not overlapping), there is no need for 2 styles.

Update Numbering 1 to associate it with Numbering 123 “list” style. Don’t change outline level which is already set to Body Test.

If you really need a second list counter, you’ll have to create a duplicate of Numbering 123 and associate this duplicate to `Numbering 2 paragraph style.

Yes, list style controls layout of number and position.

Okay, that clears it up for me. I appreciate your assistance.