2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2011 1:42 PM by SFNancy

    Unicode in numbered lists?


      Is it possible to use unicode to override or define the default characters in a numbered list in InDesign CS5 on a PC running Windows XP?


      As an example, instead of a traditional numbered list like the following:


      1.  Apple

      2.  Banana

      3.  Mango


      I would like to use Unicode characters (lowercase alpha characters surrounded by circles) as follows:


      ⓐ  Apple

      ⓑ  Banana

      ⓒ  Mango


      I would like to essentially replace the default numbers with the unicode values for the circled alpha characters.


      It seems like using character styles would be the best approach, but I may be overthinking things. I've set the character style to Arial Unicode MS font and the numbering format is set to a, b, c, d... , but the result is simply the default a, b, c display with those characters set in the Arial Unicode MS font, which does not change their display in any way. Seems like I would need to set the character set to Enclosed Alphanumerics in some way.


      Any thoughts, suggestions, or confirmation as to whether this can even be done?




        • 1. Re: Unicode in numbered lists?
          [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

          It can't be done. (In the usual way, that is.)


          You cannot set up an arbitrary starting point for a numbered list, because, well, ID then wouldn't know when to stop would it? After "X", "Y", "Z", you get "AA", "AB", "AC" and not something like "[" "^" "\" "]", which are the next Unicode characters in sequence.

          And there is no provision for "any random sequence of characters" at all either.


          A Not-In-The-Usual-Way is by forcing the custom text to change on each entry, using a script. This is a somewhat creepy trick, because (a) it's not live, (b) it'll mess up your existing lists if you forget to include a list item, and (c) uh, it's a creepy trick and will certainly fail for list items beyond #26. (I have no idea how it will fail but I'm pretty certain it will.)

          It's marginally better than doing it by hand, that's for sure.


          Here's the Javascript -- instructions on how to get this into your InDesign can be found elsewhere. Run it on a text selection of the paragraphs that contain your numbered items.


          if (app.documents.length > 0 && app.selection.length == 1 && app.selection[0].hasOwnProperty("baseline"))
               for (i=0; i<app.selection[0].paragraphs.length; i++)
                    if (app.selection[0].paragraphs[i].bulletsAndNumberingListType == ListType.NUMBERED_LIST &&
                         app.selection[0].paragraphs[i].numberingResultNumber >= 1 &&
                         app.selection[0].paragraphs[i].numberingResultNumber <= 26)
                         app.selection[0].paragraphs[i].properties = ({numberingExpression:String.fromCharCode(9397+app.selection[0].paragraphs[i].numberingResultNumber)+"^t"});
          } else
               alert ("Please read the instruction manual before running this script again EVER");

          • 2. Re: Unicode in numbered lists?
            SFNancy Level 1

            Thanks, [Jongware]. I was expecting that would be the answer .


            We have some authoring constraints in place to limit lists of this particular type to no more than 26 potential items (or steps, in our case).


            I've explored using glyphs and some other hacky methods to try to accomplish what folks need, but it looks like it makes more sense to push back a bit and just use the standard a, b, c numbering and sacrifice the surrounding circle design element.


            Just for fun, I may try out your suggested script method.


            Thanks again for your insight.