Rounding Numbered List Numbers

When creating numbered lists, sometimes we want to have rounded numbers with nice circle, maybe colored… But, how to achieve this effect? One of the ways is to find specific font, or maybe to anchor text frame with number. The most expected way would be to apply Character Style to Automatic Numbering and with help of Underline to achieve desired effect, BUT, it seems that InDesign has really bad BUG when it comes to underlining automatic numbering! Yes, you have read it correctly! There is NO way to underline Automatic Numbering! 😦 So, we need to find some workarounds…

As you can see from screenshot, I used Automatic Numbering, but, rounding is achieved with Paragraph Rules. It’s a bit tricky to get it to look right but when you do, it’s really great! In Character style you just set font color. First downside of this method is that Paragraph Rule is indented and when you change frame width rule will also change. Second downside is that rounding will not fit to bigger numbers, so you have to manually adjust them. But, if you have frames that are constant width, then you are good!

Another way of doing this is to do manual numbering, and apply customized underline. This is how it looks like:
You probably noticed spaces before and after numbers. You have to add them and apply Underline to them too. That’s because Underline doesn’t have option for indenting like Paragraph Rule does. Take a look at screenshot of Underline setup. There is a lot of fine-tuning, but the result is great!

Hopefully, Adobe will correct this BUG and it will work correctly in future versions of InDesign. If you want to report this BUG to Adobe, feel free to use this form: Adobe – Feature Request/Bug Report Form.

And for the end, here is Stroke style that I used in this example.


A day after the tip was posted I’ve got two emails from readers who gave suggestions how to avoid downside when doing rounding with Paragraph Rules. Thanks! It’s really easy and quick to do. Instead creating Stroke style as previously described, we just need to create single dot line as you can see on screenshot. Idea is to create Stroke style that has very big pattern length, but with very small length to get just single dot.

That’s it!

Have fun! 😀

About Marijan Tompa (tomaxxi)

Husband, Father, Graphic Designer from Subotica [Serbia]. Also Adobe IDUG Chapter Representative, JS, AS3, Flex developer. InDesign Script/Panel developer. My everyday work includes working with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, CorelDRAW. I recently started to write scripts to speedup my work with InDesign. View all posts by Marijan Tompa (tomaxxi)

8 responses to “Rounding Numbered List Numbers

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