2

I am using cascading numbered headings (chapter 1, chapter 1.1, chapter 1.2, chapter 1.2.1, etc) in Google Docs. I would like to format these so that they're all aligned with the left margin of the document.

Like this: Google Docs as I would like it to be

Unfortunately, by default, lower-level headings are always indented to the right (e.g. a second-level heading like "chapter 1.2" has a left indent of 1.9 cm). Additionally, the only way to create lower-level headings (e.g. "chapter 1.1.2") is through the increase indent button, which indents that heading even further to the left. In other words, it looks like this:

Google Docs as it is

I can only move individual headings "manually" (i.e. select an existing heading, and changing its indentation - either through moving the markers in the ruler, or through Format --> Align --> Indentation options). If I create a new heading further down the document, or modify an existing heading (by, for example, changing its heading level from 1.2 to 1.2.1, by using the increase/decrease indent buttons), then that heading reverts back to its default indentation (further to the left than I would like).

I have tried updating the heading style (by aligning a heading as above, and then updating that heading's style through Format --> Paragraph style --> Heading <X> --> Update heading to match, but it has no effect.

Is there a way to set up a Google Docs document so that:

  • All numbered headings are aligned with the left margin (left indent = 0) by default?
  • That left indent doesn't change when I change a heading's level (i.e. change "chapter 2" to "chapter 2.1")?

1 Answer 1

1

Is there a way to set up a Google Docs document so that:

  • All numbered headings are aligned with the left margin (left indent = 0) by default?
  • That left indent doesn't change when I change a heading's level (i.e. change "chapter 2" to "chapter 2.1")?

Short Answer

No there is not. Workaround at end.

Explanation

This issue isn't about "heading" styles. It is about how "numbered lists" are managed. Number lists are hierarchical and that hierarchy defines how the list is numbered, and how it is updated when changes are made.

The heading styles are irrelevant to that. You may be applying heading styles to a numbered list but those styles still remain independent of the list.

For example,

  1. If you were to add some text to your document outside of a list, then apply a heading style using the menu, the text you styled would not automatically become part of an existing or new list. [examples below the line in screenshot]
  2. You could have a numbered list and mix-and-match the heading styles between different levels, and even within the same level. [examples above the line in screenshot]

    Examples

Workaround

You will have to forgo Docs automatically managing the numbering of your headings, in favor of Docs automatically styling them the way you want.

Instructions:

  1. In the "Tools" menu select "Preferences"
  2. Uncheck "Automatically detect lists"
  3. Update your heading styles as desired
  4. Manually number your headings

    Example of Workaround

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.