I'm relatively new to InDesign and I just know that I'm going about this project in a less than ideal fashion. I've done a lot of Google searching about numbering, but I seem to know little enough about InDesign that I can't quite phrase my search right.

Part of the reason I'm having trouble finding an answer is due to the way I want my document to be laid out. The simplest way to demonstrate this is with a picture:

enter image description here

You can see here that I have a 3p0 offset for most of the body text of the survey from the edge of the text frame. A blue margin separator (currently obscured by a guide; sorry) is put in at 1p6 inside the text frame. The text frame itself is 1p6 offset from the document margin which is 1p6 offset from the page edge.

I want my question numbers to appear just as they do here - between the document margin and the text frame - but I want the numbering to be automatic, and I want the numbers to follow along with the question text. Currently I am positioning and numbering manually.

I generally understand auto numbering (that's what I'm using for the page numbers) and paragraph/table styles, but I'm still unable to figure this out. How can I achieve this effect in a more manageable way?

1 Answer 1


Set up a Paragraph style with numbering, via the Paragraph Panel menu by choosing Bullets and Numbering....


You can configure the spacing and alignment associated with the numbering. Then adjust the text for other style options (font, size, spacing, etc) Save the text as a paragraph style and each new application of the style will result in an auto-number continuing from the last number used.

You can even configure a Character Style to apply to only the numbers in the Bullets and Numbering options dialog.

This needs to be in a single text frame to really work well.

  • 1
    That is an awfully scary item Seven, Scott. Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 0:18
  • 2
    Hey.. remember.. 7 ate 9.....
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 0:53
  • Thanks! This works really well so far, but there's one thing I can't figure out: when a question is long enough that it wraps to the next line, I can't seem to figure out how to get the second+ lines to have a hanging indent.
    – Zelbinian
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 15:51

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