Separate table (or figure) numbering for appendices—Take II

This post will only make sense after you have read the first part. If you haven’t read it yet, go and read it first, and then follow the link at its end to return here.

If you’ve used my uTIlities, then you know that I do a little programming on the side. As such, although I am by no means an expert, or even a professional, programmer, I do have sympathy for the challenges that programmers face, like, for example, the team at Microsoft responsible for Word or Excel (despite my occasional griping about things I don’t like). One of the biggest challenges I find in programming is that I cannot anticipate all the contexts and ways in which some tools might be used. For example, how will the Fit Hyperlink tool work when the hyperlink is in a table? At first, I didn’t program for that eventuality, and, of course, the first time I tried it in that context, it didn’t work.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily only happen when we do programming. About a year ago, I wrote a piece about how to get caption numbering set up in appendices. Of course, it worked, and the post has been reasonably popular, and, I am glad, seems to have been helpful to quite a few people. And then someone contacts me and lets me know that my solution is not working. Why not? They have tables and figures in their appendices, and I only set it up for tables. My solution would work for tables, or figures, or any other caption, but only when only one of those is present in the appendix. When tables and figures appear in the appendices, then the List of Tables and List of Figures (actually, in terms of Word, the TOC for tables and TOC for figures) contains all the tables as well as all the figures.

So how to fix this?

Well, the approach I suggested previously for the numbering is sound (the problem is with the TOCs), so for the tables, use SEQ fields with the customised identifier AppendixTable and use the customised identifier AppendixFigure for the figures. But for the List of Tables (and the List of Figures), we now need to split up the process. First, add this field: { TOC \H \C “Table” }. Then, right next to it, this one: { TOC \H \C “AppendixTable” }. What we are doing, is essentially creating two TOCs for the List of Tables: The first one finds all the tables in the main document (i.e., our chapters), then the second one finds all the tables (marked with the SEQ identifier AppendixTable) in the Appendices.

There is one trade-off. When the fields are built, an extra paragraph is inserted. It doesn’t actually look that bad, though, and the break between the main tables and the appendix tables seems natural.

There are some alternatives to this, if you really don’t want the break. Firstly, you could manually mark all the tables (and figures) with TC fields (I explain how to do this in my book). This will allow you to build a single TOC for the tables and a single TOC for the figures. But this is a lot of manual work, and I want an approach that is relatively automatic.

If you want to see this in action, this sample document shows the effect.

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Using Wildcard Search and Replace to switch from manual numbering to automatic numbering

This is again in response to a question from the Word-PC e-mail list.

You have a document where the numbering has been entered manually, and you would like to convert this into a document which uses the different heading styles with associated numbering.

This is a slightly modified version of Example X (that’s ten, by the way) from Application 10.3 (Practical wildcard searches) in my book Doing your dissertation with Microsoft Word.

Students have manually numbered and formatted their thesis before learning about the principles taught in this book which allows Word to do their numbering for them. They want to start using this system (e.g., so as to still be able to use Word to create their table of contents), but cannot simply apply the heading styles, as all the old numbers still have to be deleted manually, and in any case it would be great if Word could actually find all their headings and update them to the styles automatically, without the students having to apply the style to each heading.

The secret is to start with the lowest heading level, hierarchically speaking. Thus, if your numbering is like this, then level 4 is your lowest hierarchical level:

Level

Numbering example

1

Chapter 1

2

1.1

3

1.1.1

4

1.1.1.1

Since the principle is the same for each level, I will only do levels three and higher in this example.

Also note that this assumes that the students very consistently did their numbering—they missed no separating periods, made no formatting mistakes, etc. Every time one of those mistakes is made, it means that the search and replace might miss something. In short, given the human propensity for error, it is best to first make a backup of the document (use my Word uTIlities to make that easy), and then to do a thorough check once the search and replace process has been completed.

For heading level three, the search specification is “([1-6].[1-9].[1-9] )(*^13)”—obviously without the quotes, here and further—which assumes that the students did not ever use more than nine third level subheadings to a single second level heading, the same for second to first level headings, and that the student has six chapters in the thesis. When in doubt, go big and specify it as follows: “([1-9].[0-9]{1,2}.[0-9]{1,2} )(*^13)” which allows for up to a single digit first level, a two digit second level, and a two digit third level (i.e., 1.1.1 through 9.99.99). Very important here is to note the space before the first right parenthesis.

To explain what this is doing, the search specification consists of two groups (as defined by the two sets of parentheses): The first group consists of the number, which is, in the first example, a digit between 1 and 6 for the chapter, followed by a period, a digit between 1 and 9 for the second level heading, followed by a period, and a digit between 1 and 9 for the third level heading, followed by a space. The second group is any text (in this case, the heading text) up to a paragraph mark. The replace with criteria is simply \2 with the formatting specification of Style: Heading 3 (Click on Format, Style in the Find and Replace dialog, and choose Heading 3). This (\2) puts only group 2 (the text and the paragraph mark) back in the replace action. The style is what adds the numbering.

Thus the number is stripped away, and the style applied, all at the same time.

In addition, the formatting for the Find What box should be set to the formatting used for the third level heading. This is actually quite necessary, as without that, the search and replace will also find cross-references in the text to those heading numbers, which is not what you want to do!

So it would look something like this:


The process can then be repeated, with ([1-6].[1-9] )(*^13) for the second level heading, and exactly the same replace with specification, except that now the formatting is set to Style: Heading 2, and of course the appropriate formatting for the Find what box too.

For the Chapter titles, again the appropriate formatting for the Find what box is set, and then the specification is (Chapter [1-6] )(*^13) with exactly the same replace with criteria and with the formatting specification of Style: Heading 1. In this way, an entire manually numbered thesis can be transformed into an automatically numbered thesis in a matter of minutes.

Since you have made a backup of the document, give it a bash, thrash it out, and see if you can get it working. I have actually used this technique on a number of theses already, and while I do concede that it is complex and heady, I can also attest that it is amazingly effective, giving great results and saving hours of manual work. I have sometimes just done a few Find Next operations until I am certain that it is finding what it needs to be finding, and is not finding the cross references, and then, when I feel bold enough, I hit Replace All (easy enough to do if you have a backup!).

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Separate table (or figure) numbering for appendices

A question recently came up in the Word-PC e-mail list which is quite typical of something a student doing a thesis or dissertation might come across. I will also modify this post to that context. I was quick to give an answer, and only later thought through all the implications, so that my initial answer would have been less than satisfactory. Here is, what I believe, a more robust solution.

The requirement is as follows:

  1. A dissertation is using chapter-based numbering instead of sequential numbering for its tables (i.e., in Chapter 3, the tables would be 3-1, 3-2, etc.). Note of course, that the student can set the delimiter (here a hyphen) in the process of activating chapter based numbering (the dialog is shown below)—many students use a period.
  2. The dissertation also has appendices, which must be numbered with uppercase letters (Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.).
  3. Those appendices contain tables (or figures, or any other label created with the Insert Caption tool).
  4. Those tables need to be numbered in the chapter-based style, but now reflecting the Appendix number. Thus A-1, A-2, etc. for Appendix A, and so on.

Parts of these are very easy to do. It’s the combination that is a headache.

Requirement 1 is simple. Just use the Insert Caption tool to add the numbers, and set the table-based numbering. See p. 162–163 of Doing your dissertation with Microsoft Word if you have the book (if you don’t some screen caps below will help).

Requirement 2 is equally simple. I have created, in the two templates (Thesis 2010.dotx and Thesis up 2009.dotx) which can be downloaded from the examples page, a style called “Appendix Title” that uses normal upper case alphabetic numbering. This is what the style looks like, showing its definition:

Some pointers. When modifying the style, be sure to go to the paragraph dialog and set its outline level to Level 1. This will ensure that it should be included in your Table of Contents (mine is based on Heading 1, which gives the same end result). Using this style for your appendix headings gives them the desired numbering scheme, thus satisfying requirement 2.

Requirements 3 and 4 are dealt with together, as these are the more tricky ones.

Here are the problems:

When Word adds caption labels, and those caption labels use chapter-based numbering, Word actually adds two fields: One is a STYLEREF field which is set to automatically pull in the heading level 1. The second is a SEQ field, which is set to restart after each occurrence of heading level 1.

Furthermore, whenever you add a table anywhere in the dissertation, Word runs through all instances of the table, and resets all of them. If you thus make changes to the switches of these caption labels in the appendix, they can get nixed by adding any table anywhere else in the dissertation.

To get started, use the Insert Caption tool to insert the caption label for the first table in the first appendix. We will modify the fields it adds afterwards (or, if you are confident writing out fields by hand, you can just skip ahead).

Click on Insert Caption (Captions group, References ribbon). From the Caption dialog, choose Numbering… to open the Caption Numbering dialog, and include the chapter number, also choosing the delimiter (separator). No need to change the Chapter start with style setting here, since all that is allow are the nine built-in heading levels. We will modify this manually later:

Once the chapter-based numbering has been set, the Caption dialog should look more or less like this:

Clicking on OK let’s Word add the caption label, using two fields.

Let’s first look at those fields Word adds. This is what they look like before and after being selected and set to Show field codes (Shift + F9):

So. The field codes (the bits between the braces) and text Word adds, is:

Table { STYLEREF 1 \s }–{SEQ Table \* ARABIC \s 1}

We can’t just change the STYLEREF field from 1 (Word shorthand for the built-in style “Heading 1”) to “Appendix Title,” as Word will nix this each time it updates the caption labels when a table is added somewhere. We also cannot change the restart switch for the SEQ field to anything other than 1-9 (i.e., Word’s nine built-in heading styles).

So we need a slightly different approach.

The first thing is to keep Word from automatically changing these table captions. The second is to get it to restart with each new appendix. Both of these are accomplished by setting the first appendix table caption to:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \r 1}

The change to the STYLEREF field will pull in the required appendix number (from my custom style–if you are using a different style, then you would have to include whatever that style name would be). But note that it is the change to the SEQ identifier (from Table to AppendixTable) that essentially creates a new sequence, and prevents Word from reverting the STYLEREF field from STYLEREF “Appendix Title” back to STYLEREF 1. The SEQ field switch \r 1 which has replaced the \s 1 switch tells Word to restart at 1 here. Note that the 1s in the two switches have vastly different meanings. The \s 1 means restart numbering if there is an instance of “Heading 1” style between me and the preceding similar caption. The 1 refers to Heading 1. The \r 1 means restart right here, using the number 1. Here the 1 refers to 1.

But still more needs to be done. For each subsequent table in each appendix, the caption must be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \n}

Here the \n switch just tells Word to continue the numbering sequence from the previous similar caption label.

So the first table caption of each appendix will be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \r 1}

And the table caption of all other tables in each appendix will be:

Table { STYLEREF “Appendix Title” \s }–{SEQ AppendixTable \* ARABIC \n}

Probably the best way to achieve this is to simply copy and paste the caption paragraph for each new table. Yes, it’s a little manual work, but it’s not that bad. If you’re work averse, you could always record a macro writing out the fields (remember to use Ctrl + F9 to add the field braces) and then run that macro each time. Remember to also set the paragraph style to Caption, thus ensuring consistent formatting for your chapter and appendix tables.

Unfortunately, the job is not quite done.

Because we changed the SEQ field from SEQ Table to SEQ AppendixTable, the tables in the appendices will not appear in the list of tables. So we need to fix that.

To get that done, insert (or re-insert) the list of tables.

From the Table of Figures dialog, select the Options button:

In the Table of Figures Options dialog, specify that the table of figures should be built from the Caption Style:

Once you click on OK, notice that back in the Table of Figures dialog, Word will have set the Caption label to (none). This won’t do, because that means that the table will include, tables, figures, and any other caption labels. Compare the Table of Figures dialog below to the one shown above:

Just reset this to Table, and click on OK:

The end result is a list of tables that includes both your chapter and appendix tables:

The great thing about this approach is that it is stable and it works. It will withstand the updating caused by adding new tables or deleting existing tables, updating all fields in the document, closing and re-opening the document, etc.

It does require a small amount of manual work, but I think it is well worth the effort.

Update (2014-03-11):
If you want to do this with multiple captions (e.g., Tables and Figures in your appendices), then a little more work is needed. Read about it here.

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