Your Customers are Mobile, you will be too …

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 CS6: Styling Multi Level Lists

In this tutorial we will show you how to style multi level lists in InDesign CS5.5 or CS6. The same principles apply in CS5 as well. We will also show you how reset the the numbering if you have more than one list in your document. We will not go into how to style the characters as this has already been covered in a previous tutorial. Rather we will concentrate on how to set up each level of your list.

First thing we need to do is create a new style. To do this we go to Paragraph Styles and select New Style.


Double click on the new style to open it up and edit it. Rename the style something usefull on the first page that appears. Something like List level 1. Then open the bullets and numbering tab.

Rename your style

Rename your style

On this Tab change the List Type to Numbers and ensure that the list level is set to one.

Set the level to level one

Set the level to level one

Set the Format to what ever numbering style you prefer. Traditionally this first level is I, II, III, IV … so I will set mine to this.

Change your other settings.

Change your other settings for this level.


Set you Left Indent. Remember left indent for our multi level lists will always be indented from the level above it.

Make sure mode is always set to “Continue From Previous number”. There is only one exception to this which we will cover soon. Once you have done this click OK to save this style.

Now we can move onto setting our second level styling.

Again create a new style and name it Level 2 List then go to the Bullets and Numbering Tab.

Select List Type to Numbers again and change the list level to 2. This time make sure that the Restart number at this level After Any previous level is checked. Then do your indent from the previous level and click OK.

Change your level and indent for level 2.

Change your level and indent for level 2.


Repeat this process for level 3 and again for 4 if you want to go that far. Just remember to change the level each time you create a new style.

Now InDesign when it comes to using these multi level lists does not know when it is dealing with a new list. If you have more than one list in a story it will always treat them all as one list. So if you have a list containing 5 items and another list with 2 items when it does the second list the first number will be 6 rather than one. This is good for creating legal documents etc but for everyday use it can annoying. So now we will show you a simple trick that will reset the numbers for the new list.

Right click on your level one style and select Duplicate style.

Select duplicate style

Select duplicate style

Now for this duplicated style there only two things we will change. You want everything else to be the same as the style it is duplicated from so do not change anythings else.

These two things are the name of the style. Where is says copy change that to reset or restart so you know what it is. And the other things is change Mode to Start at .. 1.

Change name and start at 1 do not change anything else.

Change name and start at 1 do not change anything else.

Click OK to save the style.

Anytime you use this style the list number will always be one. Other list items below it will see it as the first in its list and will be numbered accordingly.

Unfortunately you will need to apply the relevant style to each line individually. However you now have all the styles in place to do so. Just remember to use the reset style for the first line of all new lists.


One Response to Adobe InDesign CS5.5 CS6: Styling Multi Level Lists

  • I had already figured out how to get numbered lists and nested list, but I would have never thought of making a “reset” style.
    Brilliant solution!

Leave a Reply

Please buy me a Coffee

Help a starving student to drink more coffee

Follow us on: