Once again, after a year or so of respite, I am struggling with the Multilevel List Monster.
I am trying to define
a series of multilevel list styles that all work the same way in different section levels with different left margins. For
example, Heading 1 has a left indent of 0"; its Next Paragraph Style is Normal, which also has a left indent of 0". I need a
corresponding list style whose level 1 has a left indent of, say, 0.25". Heading 2 has a left indent of 0.5"; its Next
Paragraph Style is Normal 2, which also has a left indent of 0.5". I need a corresponding list style whose level 1 has a left
indent of 0.75". And so on.
As a test, I created two multilevel list styles named List style 1 and List style 2.
They don’t have different indents, but they have other differences that make them easy to tell apart.
create a multilevel list by starting a new paragraph, setting its style to List style 1 or List style 2, and typing. The
whole list is formatted in the requested style. So far, so good.
After that, things fall apart.
part of the document is changed to a different heading level, I need to change the style of any ML lists it contains. I
can’t make that work cleanly.
First, I placed the insertion point at the start of the first entry in a List
style 1 list. The Apply Styles dialog said that the paragraph’s style was List Paragraph, a style that I never applied.
So how can I tell what list style was applied?
I used Apply Styles to set List style 2. After I pressed Enter,
Apply Styles told me that the first paragraph’s style was still List Paragraph. And the list’s style didn’t
change – not even the first entry, where the insertion point was.
I selected the entire list and tried
again. This changed the entire list's style as requested -- except for the first entry, which didn’t change.
I found that I could change the style of the entire list by selecting the list and then using the “Multilevel
list” dropdown in the Ribbon. But the dropdown shows the list styles iconically -- and it doesn’t show their
names! So I can apply list styles with the dropdown, but I can't tell which style is which, and I can tell which style is
which in the Apply Styles dialog, but I can’t apply them.
If I float the mouse pointer over a ML list item
in the List Styles part of the dropdown, it sometimes shows the style’s name in a balloon. Sometimes it doesn’t.
I haven’t figured out why, or how to make it display the name when it doesn’t want to. So if I want to apply a
particular list style, I must move the mouse pointer from style to style, asking “Are you the style I want? Are you the
style I want?” until I find The One. Except that sometimes it won't let me.
Meanwhile, the Styles dialog
doesn’t show ML styles at all, even when it’s set to show “All styles.”
that the dropdown sometimes shows ML list styles and sometimes doesn’t. I think it’s hiding them (sometimes) when
the insertion point isn’t in a ML list, which means that the dropdown is useless for starting a new numbered list.
Since the Apply Styles dialog appears to be useless for changing a list’s style, I have to use both interfaces –
one for creating lists, the other for changing them. After I get this to work I have to explain it to users whose grasp of
Word may be tenuous. I’m not confident that I will be able to do so.
The vertical spacing of items in the
list is controlled by the magic List Paragraph style. The whole list. Every list.
This gives me two choices for
spacing. If I disable List Paragraph's “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” property, I
can have any amount of space between list entries, but the amount of space before the first entry and/or after the last is
the same as for every other entry in the list. If I enable “Don’t add space,” I can have any amount of
space I want before the first entry and after the last, but there is no space between entries at all.
Unfortunately the style guide requires one amount of space before the first list entry and a smaller amount between
entries. In a flat list this is easy to accomplish with “Style for following paragraph.” In a ML list it seems to
I don't have a need for different spacing in different lists. That's lucky; it's something else
that would be easy to do with flat lists, and appears to be impossible with ML lists.
In general, it seems to me
that Microsoft created a completely new model for multilevel list formatting and styles instead of extending the one used
everywhere else. Then they let some of the original style model's UI components affect the ML list model as well, but
sometimes in unintuitive or possibly random ways. Is that an accurate assessment, or is there some underlying logic to this
stuff that I’ve missed?