21 Replies Latest reply on Apr 15, 2015 8:40 AM by Peter Spier

    Chapter Numbering Dilemma

    BlackHat Ink 1234

      I know the answer to this query MUST be somewhere in the knowledge base but I cannot get any of them to work. Here is my setup:

      400 Page BOOK

      37 Chapters

      65 Sub Chapter Headings ( various sub-headings randomly placed at the START of each chapter and in many chapters these are changed. These headings show up in the header on the right hand pages)

      17 Illustrations

      Rather than creating 37 documents I am attempting to create ONE document with 37 sections in it but these need to be called "CHAPTERS" and need to update as each section's pages are defined.


      I have succeeded in accomplishing everything EXCEPT the Chapter numbering. We've read and tried every tutorial solution and combination of solutions imaginable but nothing will work. I am about ready to just number the darned things by hand and be done with it but then I'd have to do that again when creating a TOC.


      Stumped in New Orleans, please help before a copier gets the Office Space treatment!


      SPECS: InDesign 10.2

      27 inch 2011 iMac running Mavericks

      LOTS of RAM

        • 1. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          If you are trying to use the Chapter Number field in the Numbering and Section Options dialog for this, you can't. A single file can have only one value for this.

          • 2. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
            brown1982 Level 1

            Variable's, tried that?

            If each chapter starts, there is probably a chapter page with for example: Chapter 2, title. ect.

            If the 'chapter 2' has a character or paragraph style, you can easily make a variable on the master pages, and place there the chapter variable.


            The Running Header variables insert the first or last occurrence on the page of the text to which the specified style is applied. If no text on the page is formatted with the specified style, the text from a previous page is used. So this also can be used for chapters headers

            • 3. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
              BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


              Thanks for the tip. I am not trying to use the chapter number function (I WAS but figured out that would not work). I am trying to use:

              Type/Insert Special Characters//Markers/Section Marker

              I want to have a text and paragraph style assigned to style the section marker text and have "CHAPTER" be the prefix and the auto-generated numbers the suffix from Roman Num I - XXVII


              Thank you for responding,



              • 4. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1

                Here is a visual of the book constructed in Mellel. We are moving all our production to InDesign from Mellel (yeah, I know....):


                Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 6.08.06 PM.png

                • 5. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  Section Marker and Section Prefix are two different attributes...


                  You can insert a Section Marker special character and it will reflect the value in the Section Marker field (and you could set that to be "Chapter X"), Section Prefix values are only visible in conjunction with a page number.

                  • 6. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                    BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                    Thanks again. Are you saying set this Section Marker IN a text field ON a Master Page or manually set it at the top of every Chapter's start page?



                    • 7. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      Put it on the master page. Each time you start a new section it should update, just like page number markers update.

                      • 8. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                        BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                        This is truly a humbling experience and I am a 25 yr long Mac user with 15+ in Photoshop but I am just not getting this.

                        Step 1: Open Master Page B (I use a different one for chapter start pages)

                        2. Draw text box

                        3. Select Type/Insert Special Characters/Markers/Section Marker

                        I get THIS:

                        Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.21.58 PM.png

                        From there I have no option to set the Section Marker Field, it is greyed out:

                        Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.23.14 PM.png

                        SOoooooooo, we press on and go to page 1 of the book and get this:

                        Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.26.18 PM.png


                        Now, I have no earthly clue where the word "CHAPTER" has come from? I haven't told InDesign to change "SECTION" to it, maybe this is the problem? From here I CAN now select the: Layout Numbering and Section Options which produces this:

                        Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.29.05 PM.png

                        Now if I attempt to change the Prefix "Style" to Roman numerals that of course changes all the PAGE NUMBERS to Roman. If I try selecting the "Start Chapter Numbering at" and enter "X" I get an error, it can only contain a number. If I proceed anyway (3 times) and select any of these options I get "CHAPTER" in the box and nothing else. Here's what's even more perplexing, let's go to Chapter II:

                        Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.34.31 PM.png


                        I suppose I should rejoice (YAY!) that InDesign is at least telling me I am creating complete sections (I think) but the chapter number curse remains. There is a logical reason why this won't compute but that and Amelia Earhart's burial place remain a mystery.


                        Thanks again,



                        • 9. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                          TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I don't get it. Why not just type the chapter numbers by hand? It's only 37. Are the chapters shuffling around so much that they constantly have to be renumbered?

                          • 10. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                            BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                            Of course we can type in the numbers by had but our goal in switching to InDesign was to eliminate manual maintenance of items like this while generating robust TOC's across delivery formats viz Kindle, ePub .pdf print etc.



                            • 11. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                              The Word Chapter is what you entered in the Section Marker field in the numbering and sections dialog. So far everything is doing what you wanted, but you don't realize it because you haven't included the NUMBER itself for each chapter as part of the marker.  So the marker for chapter 1 would be CHAPTER I, and for chapter 11 it would be Chapter XI.

                              Unless you also have a value in the Section Prefix field and want that prefix in front of your page numbers wherever you've inserted a page number marker you should uncheck the box to include the prefix.



                              Here are two examples of how this works, the first a generic Chapter 2, and the second how your dialog should look for chapter 14 (XIV):

                              Section Marker.png

                              Section Marker2.png


                              The Text you enter into the Section marker field determines the characters that will appear, but the actual format for them on the page (font, size, weight, style, color) will be the formatting you have applied to the section marker special character where it is inserted. Below I have changed from all caps and Roman numerals for the Section marker to upper and lower case, with Arabic numerals, and I've formatted the marker itself onthe master page using Bickham Script Pro Bold with the OpenType Swash and Contextual Alternates features turned on:

                              Section Marker3.png

                              • 12. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                I still don't get it. It just doesn't seem time-consuming to type

                                thirty-seven numbers. Unless you're doing several books a day, or the

                                formatting is so standardized (but usually for books it isn't).


                                Anyway, the only way I can think of would be to use a numbered list

                                paragraph style. But the numbers are on the wrong side. If they were at

                                the front, it would work.


                                Nevertheless, if you have the Hebrew version of InDesign, it may be

                                possible to use a numbered list technique along with with a

                                right-to-left paragraph to get the numbers on the right side.

                                • 13. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                  OK, I'm starting to get it. He doesn't want to type the number, even in the marker field. Your numbered list has some potential, I guess.

                                  • 14. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                    BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                                    Thanks for your vigilance! Using your suggestion of manually typing the numbers in, will that show up in my TOC? That is my true concern. For the next projects we make, we'll START importing our manuscript into InDesign by chapter and not reverse engineer it.


                                    Thanks again,



                                    • 15. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                      Actually, no. At least not unless you override the master frame onto the document page.


                                      Do you really want to list Chapter I as a TOC entry in addition to the chapter title? Would it be adequate to make the style for the TOC Chapter title listings a numbered list, so that they read Chapter I: Chapter Title?


                                      Are you REALLY gaining anything useful here by doing it this way instead of just typing the chapter number into the running text above the chapter title?  I would say you are if you actually make use of the Section marker someplace else, like a running header, but if the text appears only on the chapter start page I think you are just making extra work for yourself by trying to be elegant.

                                      • 16. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                        BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                                        Yes I am gaining something by being elegant because this work doesn't have chapter titles. It has sections within each chapter the chapter "title" you saw on the included graphic was a section of that chapter; and yes, those are called in the header and change as I enter them. 19th century book formatting is not the same as 21st century book formatting. If Washington Irving (author of this work in 1853) had wanted to name his chapters anything other than CHAPTER X, he had the literary skill and sense to do so, he opted to stick with Roman numerals, I honor his intent.
                                        FYI - I have 1 19th century book I reprinted that had 11 sections in 1 chapter. The rinky-dink program Mellel handled this and generated a TOC effortlessly. As stated I switched to InDesign to IMPROVE upon that and take advantage of its other features using graphics.




                                        • 17. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          I didn't understand this was a reprint of an existing work, and in your illustration, Chapter X is not appearing in the header, so I'm going to plead incomplete information.


                                          I think I would still type Chapter X as part of the running text and give it a unique paragraph style. At that point it is easy to pick up for both TOC and any running header it might need to be in, and you don't need to type it into the Numbering & Sections dialog (and probably don't need that dialog at all except to set the page number to 1 after the front matter). Certainly that is no more work than using the marker.

                                          • 18. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                            BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                                            No worries! Now that you know what I am up against, you're better able to assist and thanks for that. I actually chose your method of doing the chapter numbers using the Section Marker box if for no other reason than I will have a way to isolate sections during output to other versions and media. Do you have a recommendation on constructing indexes? We have all the Topics and then sub topics in a text file already.


                                            Thanks for your assistance!



                                            • 19. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                              I'd still use live text, and if you want to use the same content in multiple docs I'd think about breaking it into separate .indd files for each chapter, then assembling using a Book (.indb). The same doc can be used in many Books, but you do have to be careful about synchronizing numbers and styles.


                                              I don't normally need indexes in my work, so I'm not the best to answer that. Ariel should be more helpful if he's still awake, or he'll be back in a few hours.

                                              • 20. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                                BlackHat Ink 1234 Level 1


                                                Great! Let me ask you: is there a simple way to export my already constructed Sections or "spreads" into new .indb files? If I did that, wouldn't the Chapter number function start working if employed?





                                                • 21. Re: Chapter Numbering Dilemma
                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                  Yes, on both accounts, but you don't save the chapters as separate .indB (Book) files, you save them as separate .indD (document) files.


                                                  A .indb file is just a collection of pointers to the component documents, and a way to synchronize aspects of those files and output together.


                                                  The fastest way to break apart your current file depends on if the text is continuously threaded from start to finish, or broken into separate stories (a story is a group of threaded text frames).


                                                  If you don't have separate stories, create a new file the same page size, then go back to the original file, select the pages you want to isolate in the Pages panel and from the panel flyout menu choose Move Pages. Select Before Page 1  of the new document (I'm assuming all your sections start on a recto page) so the pages don't switch sides, then delete the empty last page which used to be page 1. Save with a new filename. Repeat for each chapter.


                                                  If you do have separate stories you can do the same thing, or just delete pages from the existing doc that you don't want and save with a new name, reopen the original and repeat.