I use InDesign CC 16.1.

I have a ~200-page InDesign book with about ninety short chapters. I have divided the book into parts. Each such part begins with a one-page document that has a single line of text in it, styled as a "Part Title". The "Part Title" paragraph style uses the following numbering options:

Bullets and Numbering options for "Part Title"

A part title page looks like this (which is how I want it):

the title page for a "part"

I set Document Chapter Numbering to "Same as Previous Document in the Book", so that the part title page won't increment my chapter counter.

Document Numbering Options for each Part title page

What I do not know how to do is insert the most recent Part Title text from the book into the running header of the chapters in my book. I know how to define a text variable:

Edit Text Variable setup for the "cvm Part Name" variable

But the problem is, the variable's value is empty whenever I try to refer to it, either in the body of my chapter text, or in a running header. I presume this is because no chapter actually has a Part Title in it (my Part Title paragraphs are only on non-chapter part title pages).

My question is: How can I insert the Part Title name into my running headers?

Bonus question: How can I also insert the Part Title number into my running headers?

  • I don’t think you can. Text variables can only reference the document they’re in – there are no cross-document ‘book variables’. The only way I know of to achieve this is to have the part title pages be the first page/spread in their respective part documents. May 5, 2021 at 18:55
  • I've considered combining all the chapters of a part into one document, to use the chapter number as a part number and then create an H1 style to look like a chapter number, but then it leaves me the mystery of whether I'll be able to number the H1 elements and use their numbers in the running heads. (And it would make chapter reorganization, which I'm still not settled on, a nightmare) It seems like I'm not trying to do anything out of the ordinary here. I feel like I'm missing something fundamental. May 6, 2021 at 14:41
  • You don’t have to place everything in one document – just each numbered/named part. Or do you currently have each of the 90 chapters as a separate document (that just sounds like a different kind of difficult-to-manage)? Unfortunately, for some unknown and completely unfathomable reason, you can’t use automatic numbering in text variables at all. Like, at all. The numbers in numbered paragraphs are completely unavailable to text variables. One of the most annoying drawbacks in InDesign. May 6, 2021 at 14:45
  • Until yesterday, I had 90 chapters in one big 200-page document. Yesterday, I finished structuring this big .indd document into 90+ individual .indd files managed by one .indb book. I think this is going to be beneficial for more reasons than just getting the chapter number into the running head. Managing the index, bibliography, etc. as separate files is going to make life easier, at least. May 6, 2021 at 16:08
  • It does seem a feature gap for a text variable not to have access to the List value ("Part Number" in my example) from the Bullets and Numbering dialog. May 6, 2021 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


It's a bit complicated, but the only way I know of is as shown is this video: https://youtu.be/sBgBQJLErCM

  • 1
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review
    – Mensch
    Dec 7, 2021 at 1:54
  • Ulysses, thank you for that. I had used luckylion's method from this video on another project, actually. It was so complex that I decided for this project just to decide not to try to put numbers in the running heads. Dec 9, 2021 at 21:40

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