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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2017 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Jun 28, 2016

WordPerfect Tips
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Using WordPerfect

Other automatic
numbering methods -

•  The automatic numbering (and bullet) feature [and on the same page: "Insert a paragraph number anywhere with Ctrl+Shift+F5"]

•  How to create automatically numbered document headings

•  [More:] Using, creating, modifying, and saving outlines

Unlike a structured outline where paragraphs are sequentially numbered by the level they are on, WordPerfect counters can be placed anywhere in a document.

Counters automatically display sequential numbers, letters, or Roman numerals. You control exactly where they are displayed — including inside sentences, paragraphs, outline levels, footnotes, endnotes, etc.

Like outlines, the sequence is maintained if you insert, delete, or move counters: The program instantly re-sequences all subsequent counters having the same name.

WordPerfect uses built-in counters, such as in graphics captions ("Figure 1," etc.). The following material shows how to create your own custom counters.
And since counters can be individually named you can create and use several custom counters in a single document.


The following menu choices refer to the <WordPerfect> menu (right-click on the top menu bar for a choice of menu). If you use a <Microsoft Word> menu, the choices might be absent from your menu (but not from the program), or they might be found under another menu selection. See here for more.

Page contents

Creating and using custom counters (basic method)

Inserting counters more easily with a QuickWord (with an example)

Including counters in a style

Creating, inserting, and resetting counters with macros (with examples)

Examples of counters (elsewhere on this site)

Creating and using custom counters (basic method)

To create a custom counter:

•  Click on Insert, Other, Counter. This opens the "Counter Numbering" dialog, showing WordPerfect's 5 built-in "system" counters. [You can also open this more quickly dialog in other ways: See Footnote 1.]

Counter Numbering dialog

  Click on Create. This opens the "Create Counter Definition" dialog.

Create Counter Definition dialog

  Give the counter a name (e.g., MyCounter).

  Accept the default numbering method (1,2,3) [or choose another numbering method (e.g., letters or Roman numerals)] in the "Single level method" field.

  (Optional:) Define additional levels. Note that while you can define several numbering levels, for most tasks a single level will be sufficient.

  Click OK. The new counter should appear in the Counter Numbering dialog like this (assuming you named it "MyCounter"):

Counter numbering dialog with new counter

To use the counter:

•  Place the cursor where you want the counter to appear in the document.

•  Click on Insert, Other, Counter to reopen the "Counter Numbering" dialog [if you need to do this often see Footnote 1].

•  Select the new counter from the Counter list, then click "Display in Document".  In Reveal Codes you will see a new code: [Count Disp], and the counter's number should appear in the document.

•  Move the insertion cursor: Make sure the insertion point is to the right of the new code in Reveal Codes.

•  Click on "Increase" or "Decrease" to increase or decrease the value of the next displayed counter.  For example, if you increase the counter you will see another code: [Count Inc].


It is not recommended to use "Increase and Display" or "Decrease and Display," since the resulting codes can often be reversed from the order in which they should appear:

[Count Disp] followed by [Count Inc]

You want to display a number, then cause it to increase (or decrease) the next time the counter is displayed further down in the document.


☼  You might need more than one named counter in a document.

If you plan to use counters in both body text and substructures like footnotes or endnotes or text boxes, you should create and use separate, differently named counters for the substructures. Otherwise, the counters in one or both areas might have their normal sequential numbering interrupted.

☼  You can use existing counters more easily via a QuickWord, see the next section.

☼  You can use existing counters inside a style, see the tip below.

☼  You can quickly and easily create custom counters, instantly insert them, and even reset their numbering with macros, see below.

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Inserting counters more easily with a QuickWord

[To create a new counter, see above.]

You can create the two codes (explained above), then select them in Reveal Codes and create a QuickWord that will insert both codes when the QuickWord is typed. 

You can also include other characters in the QuickWord, such as parentheses around the two codes. [See also the section below on using small macros to create and insert counters with additional text characters or format codes.]


The following example (repeated on the QuickWords page for convenience), shows how to automatically and sequentially number items at the end of a phrase.

It also shows how two different sequences of numbered phrases can be interspersed and WordPerfect will still track their numbered phrases independently on one another.

Using text phrases with counters -
How to use a QuickWord to insert both

This technique works somewhat like an outline, where deleted or inserted items cause automatic renumbering of subsequent items. WordPerfect will keep the lists properly -- and separately -- numbered.

For example, suppose you want to create a set of automatically numbered phrases like this (colors are simply for emphasis but could, of course, be incorporated in the actual use) -

Interrogatory No. 1.
Did you ever ....

Interrogatory No. 2.
List the people within Division who ...

Interrogatory No. 3.
State where the manager told ....

Production Request No. 1.
Produce all records in the ...

Interrogatory No. 4.
Do you claim that Mr. X never ...

Production Request No. 2.
If your answer is Yes ...

... and so forth.

Notice how the fourth and sixth item (in red) are numbered separately.

Here's how:

Step 1. Open a new, blank document. Create a single-level counter for each list item (e.g., one for Interrogatory items and one for Production items) with Insert, Other, Counter, Create, as explained above. Enter a name for the counter in the Create Counter Definition dialog that pops up, and click OK. When finished creating all counters, click Close to exit from the Counter Numbering dialog.

Step 2. In the main body of the document, type the leading text phrase and a space ("Interrogatory... "), then click Insert, Other, Counter. Choose the new, appropriate counter from the list and then click Display in Document. This takes you back to the main document. Make sure the insertion point is to the right of the new code in Reveal Codes. Then click Insert, Other, Counter, Increase.

You should now have two codes in the document,

    [Count Disp][Count Inc] -- in that order.

The idea is to make WordPerfect display the counter number, then (internally) increment it for any counter number that may follow later in the document. This should make it relatively immune from changing the number sequence if you copy, move, or delete such items.

Finally: Add a space, colon, hard left indent, etc., as desired to separate and/or format the text that will follow the two counter codes. You

Step 3. Here's the part that automates everything:

Make a QuickWord out of the text phrase and the two codes (and any following spaces or codes) by using Reveal Codes to place the cursor just in front of (i.e., to the left of) the text phrase, and then use <Shift>+<RightArrow> keys to move the cursor to just after (to the right of) the end of the phrase and codes.

Now, with the phrase and counter codes and any formatting codes selected, click on Tools, QuickWords. Give the QW an easy-to-remember abbreviation, such as "\Int" (without quotes) for "Interrogatory."

Step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other list item. Use the other counter, of course, and give the QuickWord a different name (e.g., "\Prod" [without quotes]).

Now, when you need the items, just type the QuickWord for them, plus a space, tab, or hard return. The QW will expand and the counter will number the item. You can add or delete a counter item, or insert a counter of the second type between a sequence of the first type, and WP will keep them properly -- and separately -- numbered.

Note that when you create QuickWords, you should make sure that the "Expand QuickWords when you type them" box is enabled, and the Option button's "Expand as text with formatting" is selected.

Also, QuickWords are stored in a special template on each user's (local) computer, where they can be managed, backed up, and replicated on other computers: see here for more.

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Including counters in a style

[To create a new counter, see above.]

Styles are just WordPerfect codes -- but codes that can contain other codes, text, graphics, headers, footers, comments, tables, table of contents markers, and -- you guessed it -- counters.

They act like containers to allow you to quickly apply consistent structure or formatting -- such as the Heading styles that ship with WordPerfect.

For an example of including counters in a style, here's a method designed for a user who needed to number paragraphs independently of a standard outline numbering scheme. That is, the user wanted to be able to independently number these paragraphs no matter what level of outline they appeared under. [This is just a commonly requested technique; however, you can use the method with any paragraphs, not just those inside an outline.]


First, create a single-level counter:

Step 1. Click on Insert, Other, Counter, Create. In the "Create Counter Definition" dialog that appears, give the counter a name, (optionally) choose a numbering method (numbers, letters, Roman numerals) in the "Single level method" field, accept all other default values fields, and click OK. Close the Counter Numbering dialog to return to the document.

Next, create a style with the new counter in it, and save the style to your default or other template:

Step 2. Click Format, Styles, Create to open the Styles Editor. Give the new style a name and description. For "Type," choose "Document." This is an open style that will remain in effect until the style is chosen again, at which point the number will be incremented. [You can, of course, use a Paragraph or Character style. For more on styles see here.]

Step 3. Click in the Contents field of the Styles Editor. [Optional: You can add leading text characters, such as a word or number, to the left side of the two Counter codes you will insert in Step 4.]

Step 4. From the Styles Editor menu, click Insert, Other, Counter, and make sure the new counter is selected; then click the "Display in Document" button. Then repeat: click Insert, Other, Counter, and make sure the new counter is selected; then click "Increase." You should now have two codes in the Contents field:

[Count Disp][Count Inc] -- in that order.

The idea here is to make WP display the number and then (internally) increment it for any counter number that may follow later in the document.

Step 5. Add a period (full stop), colon, space, or other "separator" characters after the two codes. You can also add formatting to the codes (select them first), such as bold or italic, and/or add tabs (Insert, Tab) or hard left indents (Format, Paragraph, Indent) before or after the two codes.

Step 6. Click OK to return to the Styles dialog.

Step 7. If you want this style to be available to all new documents based on the default template, make sure the style is selected in the "Available styles" pane, then click the Options button, then Copy. Choose "Copy To: Default template," then click OK.

Tip: If you want the style available to other templates, it can be Saved/Retrieved -- or copied -- into them as needed. For example, once the new style is in the default template, editing any other template allows you to use the Copy/Remove Object button on the other template's property bar to copy the style from the default template into the other template.

Step 8. When finished, click Close to return to the document.

Step 9. Now, when you are using the main outline, you can toggle it off temporarily (usually, <Ctrl+H> or <Ctrl+T>; see here for more on this), then apply the new style. [If you are not using an outline, just apply the style where desired.] Or you can insert the style on the outline level's entry.


You can select the new style code in Reveal Codes and make a QuickWord out of it to more quickly access it when typing the document. 

Or, record a simple macro (Tools, Macro, Record) that chooses and inserts the style, and assign the macro to a toolbar, keyboard shortcut or menu. [To assign macros see here.]

Step 10. When you need a new number for a subsequent block of text, apply the style again; the internal counter will insert the incremented number.  

You can insert new material, or delete the [Style] code, and the other items will be automatically renumbered.

Related Tips

☼  You may want to create several new styles-with-counters, each with varying numbers of leading tabs or hard left indents to match the indentation of the levels of the main outline. Or, simply use tabs or hard left indents to line up under the current outline level before inserting the style.

☼  Counter numbering can be reset "1" (or any other number) with Insert, Other, Counter, Value. This inserts a [Count Set] code at the cursor location. Also, you can always double click on this code in Reveal Codes to set a new value for the number at that point.

Related tip: This code can also be turned into a QuickWord.

☼  You can write a macro to insert the style, using the macro command StyleOn("<stylename>"), where <stylename> is the name of the new style. The macro can then be played with a keyboard shortcut or toolbar button; see here.

☼  You can use a macro to create various styles-with-counters, as explained in the footnote on the Outlines page.

☼  To cross-reference these counters:

•  Place your cursor just to the left of the [Style] code in the main document. For example, if you have created a Paragraph style with an embedded counter, you should see this string of codes wherever the style was applied; just place you cursor where indicated below:

[Para Style>*[Style]<Para Style]

   * = cursor location

•  Click Tools, Reference, Cross Reference. In the Reference Tools dialog that appears, choose "Counter" as the Reference Type. The Counter dialog appears.

•  In that dialog, choose the custom counter you created in Step 1 at the top of this section (above), then click OK.

•  Back in the Reference Tools dialog, give the Target a name in the Select Target field, then click on Mark Target.  A [Target] code will appear at the cursor location in the document, like this:

[Para Style>[Target][Style]<Para Style]

•  Repeat the above for your other Counter cross references until all [Target] codes are inserted in the document, adjacent to their [Style] codes.

•  Next, create your text references. Place your cursor at the appropriate location(s) in the text area of your document and create the reference(s) with the Mark button (not the Mark Target button) on the Reference Tools dialog. Before marking them, be sure the Reference Type is set to "Counter." Then set the Select Target to the appropriate target name for the current target.

Note: This step places a temporary "?" in the document, which will display the actual counter's number/letter when you generate the references.

•  Once finished creating your references ... click on Generate (or you can generate later from the Tools, Reference menu).

☼  If you have created short Paragraph or Character styles-with-counters, you can have WordPerfect include these styles in a Table of Contents.

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Creating, inserting, and resetting counters with macros

[To manually create a new (increasing or decreasing) counter, see the basic method above. The information below demonstrates instantly creating and inserting a new counter in one step with a small macro. (To use a macro to create the counter and include it in a style as discussed above, see the footnote on the Outlines page here.)]

Macros can automate creating, inserting, and resetting counters even more easily than the methods above.

To illustrate the process, you can select and copy the following two macro examples (in dark red) into your WordPerfect program's default macro folder (see here for help if you need it). 

Tip: Before playing them, you can change the name of the counter in both macros where indicated, if desired. Then use the Save & Compile button on the macro toolbar that appears when you edit a macro. (Again, see here for help if you need it.)

Then assign the macros to separate keyboard shortcuts, toolbar buttons, or menu items for quick and easy access (see "Customizing WordPerfect" here for help).

Tips: ☼  If you frequently need to use several differently named counters, each created/inserted with a different macro, you can add the macros to a new top menu list for convenient access. ☼  If you prefer to use toolbar buttons, you can add them to any existing toolbar or property bar, or create a new custom toolbar. ☼  If you prefer to always use the keyboard, you can create a "two-key" macro to play the various counter macros with nothing more than a couple of keystrokes.

Worth repeating: The examples below are two separate macros.

The first macro creates a single level custom numerical counter (if it has not already been created) and inserts the counter in the current document at the cursor location. When played you will see the same two adjacent counter codes as discussed in "Creating and using counters" above. Play it when you need a new counter number in the text. Note that it adds parentheses around the counter number; delete the two Type() commands if you don't want them or add or replace their parameters with something else (such as spaces).

The second macro can reset that counter's numbering to "1" at the cursor location. (Some simple error checking helps ensure the counter exists in the document.) When played it inserts a [Count Set] code at the current cursor location. Play it to reset the next, or following, counter (if any) to "1".

You can test the macros in a new document. Add a few lines of text and play the first macro in several document locations, including between counters. Note that their numbering retains in a numerical sequence even if you delete one or more of them. Then play the second macro between any two counters; it should reset the next counter numbers to begin with a "1".

Finally, you can assign the macros to separate keyboard shortcuts, toolbar buttons, or menu items; see here for information.

Example 1: A macro to create and insert a single-level numbered counter with optional parentheses around the numbers (see also the tip about using counters in both body text and in footnotes, text boxes, etc., above):

// Purpose: Create and insert a number counter.
// IMPORTANT: Enter your preferred name between the quote marks:

// Create and insert the counter:
// If the counter exists in the document, skip create step:
CounterCreate (vCounterName; Numbers!)  // (create counter)
Label(SkipCreate@)  // (jump here if counter already exists)
Type("(")  // (optionally add open parenthesis)
CounterDisplay ("MyCounter"; 1)  // (display the counter number)
Type(")")  // (
optionally add closing parenthesis)
CounterIncrement ("MyCounter"; 1)  // (increment next counter, if any)
// Macro ends here


☼  If you don't need parentheses, delete both Type() commands.

☼  You can use other characters in the Type() command -- either as single characters like in the example of parentheses above or in combination with other characters such as spaces.
For example, to add spaces after the closing parenthesis:
Type(")  ")
Note that the same effect can be had with separate commands:
Type("  ")

☼  Instead of (or in addition to) text characters like parentheses, brackets, spaces, etc., you can use other special fornatting commands like Tab, Indent, and paired commands like   AttributeAppearanceOn(Attrib:Bold!) ...  AttributeAppearanceOff(Attrib:Bold!)
to surround the counter display code.
[See the program's Help, Macro commands for other related commands (or ask for help at other WordPerfect user sites like WordPerfect Universe or OfficeCommunity.com.]

Example 2: A macro to reset the counter -- i.e., the one named in Example 1 above -- with a value of "1" for the next counter with that name which might be inserted after the current cursor location in the document (but see the tip about using counters in both body text and in footnotes, text boxes, etc., above):

// Purpose: Reset same-named counter.
// IMPORTANT: Enter your preferred name between the quote marks;
// it should be the same name as in Example 1 above:

CounterSetValue(vCounterName;1) // (resets numbering to 1)
    "No counter named "+vCounterName+" found!")
// Macro ends here

Tip: See Footnote 1 which describes how to open the Counter Numbering dialog easily and quickly with a keyboard shortcut or toolbar button. You can then directly reset any specific counter manually instead of using the (Example 2) macro.

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Examples of counters (elsewhere on this site)

•  Using counters to automatically number table rows (or items) when you merge into a table

•  Using a two-level counter in graphic figure boxes (e.g., Figure 1.1, Figure 1.2, etc.)

•  Outline-in-an-outline. Use a counter inside a paragraph style for the first level, and a standard numbered Outline for the second level
...and... Counter in a style - a macro approach

•  Create automatically numbered (or lettered) heading styles

•  (Macro:) Para#End - Numbers each paragraph at the end of the paragraph

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Footnote 1

Opening the Counter Numbering dialog with
a keyboard shortcut or toolbar button:

If you find that you use this dialog a lot, or you don't want to use the macros above, you can assign this dialog to a keyboard shortcut (e.g., <Alt+C>) or a toolbar button for easy and quick access.

In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog or the Toolbar Editor dialog, the feature is found under the Insert category; scroll down to "Counter..." and select it for assignment.

For more on how to do this see the "Customizing WordPerfect" page here.