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View Automatic Numbering in Story Editor

We’ve talked about the usefulness of the Story Editor many times in the blog and in the podcast, but I’ve just learned something new about it, courtesy of an observant student in an InCopy class I taught yesterday. (Story or Galley view in InCopy is similar to InDesign’s Story Editor view.)

In InDesign, choosing Edit > Edit in Story Editor (Command/Ctrl-Y) opens a second window that shows the contents of the active story, sans most formatting to make the text easier to edit.

However, due to its nature, Story Editor (and the equivalent views in InCopy) can’t show certain things that are part of the text flow in the layout, like tables, variables, anchored objects, and the numbers preceding paragraphs formatted with InDesign’s automatic numbering.

For example, this text’s paragraphs have autonumbering applied:


Here’s how it looks in the Story Editor:


The numbers are not part of the text in the Story Editor because InDesign considers them formatting at this point, which as I said the Story Editor hides from view. To see the numbers in Story Editor I could select the paragraphs and choose Convert Numbers to Text (from the contextual or Type menu), but that would turn off auto-numbering. Not good.

The group of InCopy users I was teaching were moving from FrameMaker/Word to InDesign/InCopy. Their documents were full of auto-numbered paragraphs … hundreds of them. Being able to see the autonumbering in every view in InDesign and InCopy was critical.

I was about to show them the Convert to Text workaround (and give them the URL to Adobe’s Feature Request form) when a student piped up, “Hey, you can see the numbers in the Style names.”

Show Style Column

Augh! Why hadn’t I noticed that before. As long as the Story Editor (or Story/Galley in InCopy) is showing the Paragraph Style names in its Info column, you can see the numbers each paragraph is preceded with by looking at the number following the style name.

In InDesign, I turned on View > Story Editor > Show Style Name Column (it’s on by default, but I had turned it off long ago as an application preference) and now I could see the numbers for the paragraphs. Here’s a close-up view:


In InCopy, you just need to make sure that Show Paragraph Styles is enabled in the Galley & Story Appearance toolbar, and the numbers appear there too.

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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One Comment on “View Automatic Numbering in Story Editor

  1. Ah yes, very good. That is useful to know that you can turn them off from the view drop menu. It is perhaps worth noting that it won’t show the auto numbers if you have them inside a table.


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