I am styling a document with many sections. The section number needs to be repeated throughout the section (a la running header). However, there is no text variable/marker for the current section number in InDesign. Is there a way to repeat the section number without incrementing it at the same time? I am looking for a solution where the repeated number will automatically change to match the section number, I specifically do not want to have to do it manually.

2 Answers 2


It appears that I misunderstood the concept of "sections" in InDesign. Sections don't have numbers. They are a high-level abstract way of dividing a document into... well, sections. Moreover, there is no relationship between sections and numbered styles which is what I really want to control.

OK, my final answer. I ended up using section markers as section numbers. Each marker is a consecutive section number (1, 2, 3, etc). I've set up master pages which display the section marker formatted as I need it. This does the trick.

However, it would be great if section numbers were incremented automatically. Especially during the initial phase of document design when things get shuffled a lot manual section numbering by changing section markers is quite a bit of a pain.

  • Not sure I understand now... you can apply section-specific numbering styles and prefixes
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 22:19
  • I thought that each section had a number associated with it that automatically increments when you add new sections. There appears to be no such facility. Sections are just a way to logically split up a document. The options you are referring to are related to page numbering as indicated by the box enclosing the controls.
    – Tomek
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 2:14

As you've discovered, Section Markers have to be defined manually for each section. If you have a fairly long document, you can divide it into chapters, one document per chapter, and tie them all together using the book panel.

InDesign does automatically number chapters, and you can include the chapter number in a running head on the master pages. You have the added benefit that you can set the book panel options to automatically add a blank page if the last page of a given chapter falls on an even-numbered (right hand) page.

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