We're beginning our work with InDesign to create technical documents (reports for customers) due to its XML/import capabilities. Our document has a pretty traditional structure: Title page, TOC, heading, subheadings, footnotes and an index. One problem that we're experiencing is that if we define a new Master (or even use the existing Master), and don't "thread" our text boxes, numbering isn't preserved between the text boxes. Ideally what i'd like to do is have the text boxes numbering be independent of whether or not the text boxes are threaded.

Is this possible? I currently see two ways of doing this:

  • Manually numbering (using "Start From")
  • Threading

Are there any other ways i'm missing to get this done?

  • Out of curiosity, why don't you want text boxes to be threaded?
    – Joe
    Dec 7, 2012 at 18:54
  • 1
    Can you be more specific what sort of numbering you are referring to?
    – horatio
    Dec 7, 2012 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


Without knowing the reason for avoiding threaded text ...
Would this work for you:

  1. Start with threaded text frames
  2. Get your numbering all in order
  3. Expand the numbering (convert it to editable text, can't remember the term)
  4. Break your text frames up (there's a script to keeps everything in place)

A good javascripter might be able to solve this for you too ...
Set up a js to parse your document for the heading styles (you could have sub-heads as well, eg 1.1.2), incrementally number them according to the order found, and tag the applied numbers (in the code) so they can be updated if needed. You'd need to be very structured about your pages and make sure you don't have overlapping elements in the layer stacking order that could confuse the order of things in the scripts eyes.

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