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Have you ever had a novel with many chapters (my first two novels have over 40 chapters each) and you decide to split chapter 2? Now you have to manually edit chapters 2 through 40 to be 3 through 41. It is time-consuming and annoying. With today’s technology, are there options to automatically do this for me?

Of course, there are options. There are multiple options and in the article, I am going to discuss two of them.

Option 1 – Numbered List

This sounds pretty easy, to just used a numbered list. To make this option easier, create a new style based on Heading 1, and make add numbering to the style.

How to create a new based on Heading 1 with Numbering.

  1. Click on Home.
  2. Under Styles, click on the expand icon, which looks live a little v with a line over it.
  3. Click on Create a Style.
  1. Name your style Chapter Heading and click OK.
    Note: The screen goes away and you style now shows up in the list of Styles.
  2. Locate your newly created style under Home | Styles.
  3. Right-click on your style and choose Modify.
  4. Change value of Style based on to be Heading 1.
  5. Click on Format at the bottom of the screen.
  1. Under Format, click on Numbering.
  2. Click Define New Number Format…
  3. Make sure the Number Style is 1, 2, 3, …
  4. Under Number format, type the word Chapter before the number 1.
    Note: You can choose whether to keep the ending period or not. I removed it.
  5. Click OK to finish creating the new numbering format.
  6. Make sure the newly created numbering format is selected, then click OK again.
  7. Click OK a third time. Your style is now complete.
  1. Now Make all your chapter headings use this style.
  2. If a chapter heading doesn’t continue with the next number, you can right-click on the chapter heading and choose Continue Numbering.

What if you already have a lot of chapters?

You can change them all with one action.

  1. Highlight Chapter 1.
  2. Click Home | Select | Select All Text With Similar Formatting.
  1. Click your new style to change all highlighted text to the new style.
    Note: Use the Navigation pane to make sure all your numbers are in sequence.

Option 2 – Sequence

A sequence is pretty easy but without reading the entire manual for MS Word, you would never know how to do this.

A sequence is cool because it can exist anywhere in your document.

Creating a Sequence for Chapter Headings

  1. Find a Chapter heading
    Note: If this is a brand new document
    1. Type in the word Chapter with a trailing space.
    2. Change the Style to Heading 1.
  2. Delete the number, if there is one.
  3. Put the cursor where the number was.
  4. Press Ctrl + F9.
    To squirrelly brackets will appear.
  5. Inside the squirrelly brackets, type:
    SEQ chapter
    The SEQ is a special function.
    The chapter text is a name. Any future use will this same sequence name will be incremented.
  1. Press F9.
    The { SEQ chapter } changes to be the number 1.
  2. You can copy and paste this into each chapter heading or you can use the above steps, just make sure to always use the same sequence name.

Note 1: You can copy and paste this into each chapter heading or you can use the above steps, just make sure to always use the same sequence name.

Note 2: When you paste a sequence, it may have the original number. For example, if you copy a 1 sequence and paste it, it will still say 1. You must put your cursor on the pasted 1 and press F9 to update it. You can always press Ctrl + a to select the entire document and press F9 to update all sequences.

What if you already have a lot of chapters?

Let’s say you have a lot of chapters already and you don’t want to update them one at a time. You can use Find & Replace.

  1. Highlight the 1. Only the one. Don’t highlight anything else.
    Note: Make sure the 1 is created using the sequence function, and not just typed.
  2. Open Find and Replace.
    Note: Pressing Ctrl + h is a shortcut key for opening Find and Replace.
  3. Check the box next to Use Wildcards.
  4. Enter the following search string in the Find what field.
    Chapter [0-9]{1,2}
    Note: If you have 100 chapters, you can use:
    Chapter [0-9]{1,3}
  5. Enter the following in the Replace with field.
    Chapter ^c
    Note: ^c is a special replacement that will insert into each replacement whatever is on your clipboard. The last thing you copied (as in copy and paste) is what is on your clipboard.
  1. Click Replace All.
  2. Note: It will put 1 in all the replacements. Do not fear. The next step will fix that easily.
  3. Press Ctrl + a to select the entire document.
  4. Press F9 to update all the sequences.
  5. Now, every chapter will have its own numbers.