Thank you for these instructions!! I'm using them to auto number my son's baseball team raffle tickets which we hand numbered last year (UGH!). I followed the instructions exactly but for some reason the numbering is starting at 2 every time. I did deselect the checkbox about the column headers which seems the obvious culprit. Any ideas? I'm using Word on a PC. Thanks!!
Another option, which is quick, is this: If you have a "good" (earlier) version of your document with the styles intact, use the "Change styles" menu to save that style.  Then, go into the "bad" version of the document and apply the styles you saved in the good version. This was a 5-minute fix, and worked for me. The changes remained after I closed and re-opened the document. 
You must set up the heading numbering as a multilevel list linked to the heading styles. If you select the 1 Heading 1, 1.1 Heading 2, 1.1.1 Heading 3 list type in the Multilevel List gallery, the list levels will be linked to the styles automatically, will have the numbering you want, and will restart after higher levels. For more on this, seehttp://www.shaunakelly.com/word/numbering/numbering20072010.html.
To save the list style to a template so you can use it with other documents, select the list in the document. Access the Multilevel List dropdown and choose Define New List Style. Enter a descriptive new and select the New documents based on this template (at the bottom). Once you click OK, the multilevel list style will be available in all new documents.
timdunn you just saved my life and my job. Why is this so hard and totally disconnected from how to set up Heading styles through the Styles options? I don't remember it being this hard in previous versions of Word. I wasted hours and hours today banging my head against a brick wall. Thanks so much for you helpful guidance and instructions. Lifesaver.
The heading here could be anything: affirmative defenses in an answer, articles in a contract, etc. It doesn’t matter; the technique is the same with only slight variations. The result is that you’ll have a heading saved in your Quick Parts that will be numbered correctly, no matter how many items you add or delete. This makes this technique particularly useful in building templates for common documents; because it’s always easier to delete than add, they’ll re-number themselves after editing.
To save the list style to a template so you can use it with other documents, select the list in the document. Access the Multilevel List dropdown and choose Define New List Style. Enter a descriptive new and select the New documents based on this template (at the bottom). Once you click OK, the multilevel list style will be available in all new documents.

I'm writing up my PhD thesis, & this bug (numbers blackening) has been driving me bonkers - my previous solution had been to paste the chapter content into my thesis template... but as soon as i saved the file (either as doc or docx), closed it & re-opened, Heading 3 would blacken.  Incidentally - I haven't used track changes & i havent merged documents, so the bug is not unique to TC & merge.


Creating numbered tickets in Word can seem difficult or even impossible if you are not familiar with all the capabilities of the Word program. If you have tried going to the Word template section and have been unsuccessful or frustrated with all the options and questions, there is an easier way. The simplest resolution for creating numbered tickets is to find existing templates that can be edited and adjusted to fit your needs.
To save the list style to a template so you can use it with other documents, select the list in the document. Access the Multilevel List dropdown and choose Define New List Style. Enter a descriptive new and select the New documents based on this template (at the bottom). Once you click OK, the multilevel list style will be available in all new documents.
With all of the many available templates, how do you select the right ticket design? It’s a good idea to choose a design featuring a background image that in some way fits with your fundraising purpose. This ties your efforts together in a cohesive way, making your tickets more attractive to buyers. A good design gives potential buyers an idea into the type of cause they’re supporting right off the bat.
Word's Numbering Explained by John McGhie, MVP - comprehensive and not pretty (Downloadable pdf file in letter size) - Reading this is vital to anyone attempting to use automatic numbering or bullets in a law office setting or other places where the documents are likely to be reused or heavily edited. See also How to Create a Template with a downloadable template with style-based numbering. I strongly recommend that you read both of these before doing anything with the contents of this chapter.
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