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Kristine B. Murphy wonders: <<I'm working in MS Word 97 on a user guide that
has 157 + pages, with 6 levels of headers (these headers are not numbered).
All of a sudden, when I try to apply numbering on the Normal style (to
create a numbered list) the style changes from "Normal" to "TOC 8" >>
It's a real good bet that your problem lies in a "feature" of Word rather
than in a bug. If you open the Tools menu and select Autocorrect, you'll see
a dialog box with two Autoformatting tabs (with and without the extra words
"as you type"). Select these tabs in turn, and under the heading "Apply [as
you type]", make sure that headings (at a minimum) and the other settings
(for safety) are deselected.
Here's my bet at what's happening: With these settings enabled, Word
helpfully assumes that if you're typing numbers to start a paragraph, you
want its help applying these numbers. It then looks at its obscure internal
logic and decides that with 6 levels of heading, any sane person would give
up on using formatting to distinguish between heading levels and would start
using numbering. It then helpfully applies TOC8 as its best guess at the
style you really want.
A side note: I have a hard time believing that a 160-page manual really
requires 6 levels of heading. I've never seen any good evidence that anyone
other than lawyers and engineers can develop proficiency at using such a
complex hierarchy, and even they probably never get good at it and would
benefit from simplified structures. I recommend that you take a long hard
look at your heading hierarchy in an effort to simplify it. (How? Might be a
good question for techwr-!)
--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer
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