Monday, September 19, 2011

Multilevel Lists in Word

This has been bugging me for years, so I had to solve it. When you select a multi level list in Word, the program does not calculate the effect of the bullet getting longer. This reduces the space between the bullet and the text until it gets uglier and uglier until they even collide.

Here is the simultaneous equations that (apparently) Microsoft could not be bothered to use:

Ident = DesiredIndent x Level Number
Text Indent = kL + I + A
A =  k(L - 1) + I + A

A = Alignment
k = kern (width of font)
L = Level number
I = Desired basis indent

So this can be fixed by creating a custom multilevel list and loading them with the correct values, but you will literally have to print a font sample and measure the kern of the font. The easiest way is to print:

and measure the distance between two adjacent '.' characters. You should change your Word settings to millimeters first for maximum resolution, you can always change it back. For convenience here are the numbers for Calibri 11 but will work for most 11 point fonts:

Level Align Indent
1 0 13
2 13 29
3 29 48
4 48 70
5 70 95
6 95 123
7 123 154
8 154 188
9 188 225

Here is a nice screenshot of indent heaven:

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