Word – Seq And ListNum Fields Are Different


Ever wonder what the difference is between the SEQ and LISTNUM fields? Suppose you have a document you would like to  divide into numbered sections, and you need something that will update automatically if you add or delete a section, and something that will allow you  to cross-reference.

First, let’s look at the differences between the two fields. Below is the syntax for the respective fields:

Instantly you can see that the SEQ field allows you to include an optional bookmark name that refers to bookmarked text someplace else in your document. This means that you can use SEQ for cross-references, but you cannot use LISTNUM for cross-references.

Various Help file information in Word states that LISTNUM is better for complex numbered lists. The only situation where I have found this to be true is if you want the field to interact with any automatic numbering in your document. You can, for instance, modify how automatic numbering is used within a document by using special name parameters that refer to the built-in numbering sequences (i.e., “NumberDefault,” “OutlineDefault” and “LegalDefault”).

While the SEQ field will not allow you to interact with automatic numbering, it will provide a wider array of switches than does the LISTNUM field. You can see a full accounting of the available switches for both fields by accessing Word’s Help system. Experienced Word users generally find that the SEQ field is more versatile and powerful, under most circumstances, than the LISTNUM field. For this reason, you will most often find the SEQ field used for any custom numbering solutions.

You can now make an educated selection of which field to use in your documents!

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