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I am working on transferring a powerpoint document, a workbook to be exact, into InDesign and have run into a problem.

I need to create a numbered list style that looks exactly as it does in the powerpoint file for a list of questions. There are hundreds of questions and I cannot style each manually so need a solution that will automatically style each question.

number list

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    What part specifically are you asking about? The white number in a black square, with a gray background extending from it? If so: is your version of InDesign new enough to have that handy feature "paragraph shading"? – usr2564301 Mar 16 '16 at 23:50
  • Yes, white number in black square with extending gray background. I am on CC. I do, however, wouldn't it then would cause the question attached to the number list to also become shaded? – luwe2008 Mar 17 '16 at 0:01
  • The solution for that would be to not have the question in the same paragraph. I was thinking of a solution with paragraph rules and using a very thick underline on the automatic number, but then I remembered that (a silly bug, really) underlining automatic numbered lists does not work in InDesign ... – usr2564301 Mar 17 '16 at 0:25
  • How are you importing the text in to InDesign? Is it one continuous text? and are the numbers you want styled a part of the text? If the numbers are a part of the text and essentially a paragraph on their own it should be relatively easy – Cai Mar 17 '16 at 1:00
  • Hello luwe and welcome to GraphicDesign! If you're asking for help with implementation, please include what you've tried and why it didn't work with screenshots. Please edit your post with what your desired results are, what resources you referenced and why those didn't work. See this meta post for discussion and see this post on how to ask a good question. – Zach Saucier Mar 17 '16 at 4:56
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Assuming that the numbers are a part of the text and can be styled as a paragraph you can set up a paragraph style that uses Rules as faux backgrounds.

Create a new paragraph style and set Character Color[Paper].

Set a Rule Above with a weight as high as you want the background and a negative Offset so that it is vertically centered on your number. Make sure the Width is set to Column.

Set a Rule Below with the same weight and a positive Offset so that it is vertically centered on your number. Set the Width to Text. Set a negative Left Indent and Right Indent to create padding around the number.

The left indent will pull the rule outside of the text area so set a positive left indent under Indents & Spacing to push the rule back in to position.


A quick preview

The numbers have a paragraph style with only a rule above, rule below, character color and left indent set. The basic paragraph style has a left indent and spacing before/after set:

enter image description here


If your numbers are an automatically numbered list it may be possible with a combination of character styles on the numbers and paragraph styles but will be a lot more work. It will be easier to convert the numbers to text (Type → Bulleted & Numbered Lists → Convert Numbering to Text) and use paragraph styles as above.

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