Randomly Resetting Numbering
The automatic numbering tool used in Word is one of the most poorly implemented and frustrating tools in the entire program. The problems are so bad that many people even advocate the complete abandonment of the feature, relying instead on manually numbering items in lists. (Believe it or not, that is exactly what is done whenWordTips is first created—the numbered steps that are so often used are created manually rather than automatically.) This approach obviously involves quite a bit of additional typing and formatting.
Rather than type in numbers manually, you can also use the SEQ field to number your lists. This takes just a bit of time to set up, but the result can be lists that are semi-dynamic. (Meaning that list elements renumber themselves if you have to reorganize a list.) For more information on the SEQ field, refer to past issues of WordTips.
If you want to try using Word’s automatic numbering, then it is best to also use styles to define the appearance of the numbered items that appear in your document. You can create different styles for different types of lists, as well as different styles for the first items in lists and the rest of the items. Styles, of course, provide many other advantages that are beneficial when creating documents. If you share your documents with others, defined styles also help insure that your document will appear more true to your original intent when viewed on another machine.