Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Differences between SEQ and LISTNUM Fields.

Differences between SEQ and LISTNUM Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 29, 2014)

Tish wonders what the difference is between the SEQ and LISTNUM fields. She has a document that she would like to have divided into numbered sections, and she needs something that will update automatically if she adds or deletes a section, and something that will allow her to cross-reference.

Let's start by looking at the differences between the two fields. Here are the respective syntaxes for the two fields:

{ SEQ name [bookmark] [switches] }
{ LISTNUM "name" [switches] }

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

It is interesting that 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 (such as "NumberDefault", "OutlineDefault", and "LegalDefault").

While the SEQ field won't allow you to interact with automatic numbering, it provides a wider array of switches than does the LISTNUM field. (You can see a full accounting of the available switches for both fields by searching the WordTips Web site or 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.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3441) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Differences between SEQ and LISTNUM Fields.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Embedding TrueType Fonts

If you need to make sure that the fonts in your document can be used by another person or on a different system, you'll need ...

Discover More

Toggling AutoFilter

Want a tool that will help you toggle AutoFilter on and off? Excel provides some tools you can use, but you need to be ...

Discover More

Turning Off Automatic Captioning

Word can be configured so that it automatically adds captions to some of your design elements (tables, figures, etc.). Once ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Inserting the Name of the Last Person to Save the Document

Who saved the document the last time? Word keeps track of that information, and you can insert the person's name into the ...

Discover More

Copying Form Field Contents

Are you developing a form with Word? In some instances it is advantageous to copy whatever is entered in a form field to ...

Discover More

Standard Text before a Sequence Number

When you use fields to number items within a document, you may want to add some standard text before each field. There are a ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.