Basic Tech Literacy: Always--Always!--Use Automatic Numbering

First, whether you are using Microsoft, Apple, or another product any numbered list must use automatic numbering. Automatic numbering has several advantages:

It automatically formats the list. (See how it did that in this case?)

  1. Automatic numbering never double counts.

  2. Automatic numbering never misses an item.

  3. Automatic numbering never miscounts.

  4. Automatic numbering re-numbers when items are added.

  5. Automatic numbering re-numbers when items are deleted.

Second, automatic numbering can be used for elements other than lists. How? By using Fields. The way to do this may vary from platform to platform, but the basics are the following. Most word processing software has function that allows you to insert a Field that auto populates. In MS Word, you click on “Insert,” then select “Quick Parts” (it’s a rectangle, representing a page, with a blue square in it), and “Field.” Once you are in “Field”, choose either “AutoNum” or “AutNumLgl.”

This will insert a number. If you copy that number over and over again, it keeps count and switches to the next number, which you can use in a variety of ways. For example, discovery requests can be numbered in this way, allowing smooth numbering regardless of how much adding and removing the document undergoes:

Interrogatory No. 1.

Interrogatory No. 2.

Request for Production No. 1.

Request for Production No. 2.

Request for Admission No. 1.

Request for Admission No. 2.

If you are not using automatic numbering, you are wasting your time, you are wasting

other people’s time and you are improperly taking money from clients if you expect

them to pay for manually re-numbering lists when items change. Professionals don’t

manually number lists. Now you know.

This post is part of Basic Tech Tips for Legal Pros, available for download at

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