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Implementing numbered steps and substeps

 
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Numbering/lettering of sections and ordered lists in OOo Writer is:
easy to understand for novices
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
understandable with a little application
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
overly complex and suffers from severe usability issues
60%
 60%  [ 3 ]
needs to be reworked to provide a simpler more flexible model like FrameMaker
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 5

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hfinger
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Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Implementing numbered steps and substeps Reply with quote

I have been using OOo for some time for simple reports and general office short documents. But now I want to create some procedures with numbered steps.

After Word and FrameMaker, I find the OOo numbering model byzantine in the extreme.

I want to create permanent paragraph styles for numbered steps and lettered substeps. The first numbered step should ideally reset to "1" after a procedure heading. The first lettered substep should ideally reset to "a" after a step. This task is easily accomplished in FM so that you never have to restart numbering; just applying the appropriate step/substep para style causes this to happen.

You can also have intervening non-numbered/lettered paras to continue a step/substep or to include bulleted points, etc., then resume the numbering/lettering with the next step/substep para.

In FM you also have great control over the appearance of the number/letter. On a whimsy, I could have "] | | 1 | | [" as the number format if I wanted.

The Numbering Style dialogue seems to be all about outlines as it refers to levels of typographic (and logical) nesting of section numbers. I want steps and substeps that a nothing to do with a hierarchy of numbers.

Choosing Format > Bullets and Numbering dialogue gives me a bunch of numbering styles whose font and punctuation I do not want but there seems to be no way to have custom number formats or to add new custom formats to this dialogue.

OOo seems to make starting, restarting, suspending numbering/lettering, etc. all manual processes. I have found the "How to Create Numbering in OpenOffice.org Writer", the "How do I create a simple outline-style numbered list?" FAQ and the "Working with list (numbering) styles" section in the OpenOffice.org Writer Guide, 3rd edition (OOo 2.1). The fact that there are how-tos and FAQs about numbering seems to indicate numbered/lettered list para formats are a major usability issue and a stumbling block for anybody coming from another word-processor or desktop publishing program with a simpler model of section numbering and ordered lists.

So to restate my goals succinctly, can anybody help me create para formats/styles for numbered steps and lettered substeps that are not part of a section outline hierarchy? So that I can easily insert:

Code:

1  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

   a  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

   b  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      -- xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      -- xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

3  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Keywords: procedure procedures procedural task tasks step sub-step substep sub-steps number numbers numbered list lists order ordered numeral numerals letter letters lettered style styles format formats
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jeanweber
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Joined: 30 Dec 2005
Posts: 674
Location: Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have time to write much, but here are a few points. (My apologies if I have misunderstood something you wrote, and thus am answering the wrong question.)

1) Chapter/section numbering and list/paragraph numbering are entirely separate items in OOo, despite the similarity in names.

2) List styles applied to paragraph styles, rather than separate paragraph styles, should do what you want. You can use the "outline" hierarchy of list styles, along with the built-in "unnumbered paragraph" option, to do what you want. You can set up separate paragraph styles, each associated with a list style, but you should not need to.

3) Once you get the trick of setting up and applying list styles, they are at least as fast, if not faster, to apply than separate paragraph styles (because you can use the Bullets&Numbering toolbar to apply them).

4) You can have complete control over the font, size, placement, colour, etc of the numbers/letters/other characters used at the various levels of the list. You are not limited to the selections provided as defaults by OOo. Look on the Position and Options tabs fo the List Style dialog. One of the keys is "Character Style" -- you can define as many new ones as you like, and use them here.
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hfinger
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Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeanweber wrote:
List styles applied to paragraph styles, rather than separate paragraph styles, should do what you want.

That's what I don't understand. I opened the Styles and Formatting floater and applied List 1 style to an existing Text body paragraph but no number appeared. And similarly with applying a Numbering 1 style. Nil. So where am I going wrong?
jeanweber wrote:
You can use the "outline" hierarchy of list styles, along with the built-in "unnumbered paragraph" option,

Now I am lost again. What ' "outline" hierarchy'? Do you mean List 1, List 2, etc. in the Styles and Formatting floater or the Level list in the Options tab of the Bullets and Numbering dialogue?
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jeanweber
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Joined: 30 Dec 2005
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Location: Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hfinger wrote:
jeanweber wrote:
List styles applied to paragraph styles, rather than separate paragraph styles, should do what you want.

That's what I don't understand. I opened the Styles and Formatting floater and applied List 1 style to an existing Text body paragraph but no number appeared. And similarly with applying a Numbering 1 style. Nil. So where am I going wrong?

That's odd. For me, the Numbering 1 list style puts a number on the Text body paragraph by default. (By default, the List 1 style puts a bullet.)

Some diagnostics: Right-click on that paragraph, choose Paragraph from the pop-up menu, go to the Numbering tab on the Paragraph dialog and see what's showing for Numbering Style. It should say Numbering 1. If it does, then go back to the Styles and Formatting floater, right-click on Numbering 1, choose Modify, and see what the Options tab shows for Level 1.

If nothing seems to be wrong, I might need to look at your file to diagnose the problem. Easier to check a dozen things than explain how to check them.

hfinger wrote:
jeanweber wrote:
You can use the "outline" hierarchy of list styles, along with the built-in "unnumbered paragraph" option,

Now I am lost again. What ' "outline" hierarchy'? Do you mean List 1, List 2, etc. in the Styles and Formatting floater or the Level list in the Options tab of the Bullets and Numbering dialogue?

Sorry for being unclear. I'm talking about the Options tab in the Numbering Style dialog for a specific list style such as Numbering 1, reached from the Styles and Formatting floater.

Ignore the Bullets and Numbering dialog itself -- that's a form of manual formatting. You want to use styles. You can use one Numbering Style (for example, Numbering 1) to set up a whole set of nested list "styles".
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girard
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Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 118
Location: Philippines

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not sure if i understood what you wanted to accomplish, but i'll try to share what i did regarding the issue i had with the numbered list not continuing after embedding items (bullets) within the list.

what i did was to create a list style that i modified to suit my requirements and then assigned the shortcut key <shift><ctrl><F12> so that the numbered list continues until I restart the numbering. this way i was able to insert as many items within the list, and the numbering would still continue.

Quote:

1. text
some indented paragraph
some more
* a bulleted list
* bullets
2. number two text


i just chose that shortcut key for convenience and a little consistency with the default shortcut keys for numbering on/off (<F12>) and bullets on/off (<shift><F12>)
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