How to Create Numbered Multilevel Heading Styles in Microsoft Word

Numbered multilevel heading styles let you clearly distinguish the heading levels. And also, numbered heading styles make the report easy to read & track. Correctly styled headings are used to generate the table of content of your report. And also, the table cations and figure captions are generally prefixed with the chapter numbers.

In Microsoft Word heading styling and numbering are done separately.

Styling headings

The first step of creating numbered multilevel heading styles is applying heading styles to your intended headings. Heading styles are listed in the Styles group of the Home tab. To apply a style to your level 1 heading;

  1. Place the cursor somewhere in the heading or select the heading
  2. Go to Home tab
  3. In the styles group, select Heading 1 style

Likewise, you can select each and every heading and apply Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc… styles as appropriately.

Modify heading styles

The default formatting of the styles can be changed to match the theme of your report. To change the default formatting of the styles;

  1. Right-click on a style (let say Heading 1)
  2. Then select Modify… (This will open up the Modify Style dialog box)
  3. Style your heading using this dialog box and click Ok.

then all the headings are automatically updated to your modified style.

Heading numbering

The second step of creating numbered multilevel heading styles is adding heading numbers to your headings. To add numbers to your headings;

  1. Go to Home tab,
  2. Click Multilevel List in Paragraph Group
  3. Select the style that include the word “Heading”, here you can chose the list icon with 1 Heading 1, 1.1 Heading 2, 1.1.1 Heading 3 etc. (See the following video demonstration)

Note: Add numbers to your heading with this method, you need to use built-in heading styles for your headings as explained above.

Once you select the multilevel headings as explained above, the heading numbers are added to all the text which you have formatted with built-in heading styles (all heading levels). Next time you format text with heading styles, the numbers are added automatically in the correct sequence. Numbers of the all other headings are adjusted accordingly.

Removing heading numbers

Some times you may want to remove automatically added heading numbers from some headings. For example, heading numbers are not required to headings such as Abstract, Acknowledgement, etc. To remove heading number;

  1. Select the particular heading
  2. Deactivate the numbering icon in the Home tab

Watch the following video that explains the above steps.

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