Whether you’re drafting contracts, compiling recipes, or outlining step-by-step instructions, the way information is organised matters, and hierarchical numbering can help with that.

By ‘hierarchical numbering’, also known as legal-style numbering, we mean numbering like this:

  1. Social media pages or accounts
    1. This clause [1] applies if:
      1. the Provider operates any social media pages or accounts for the [name of website or platform or service] (such as a Facebook page or an Instagram account); and
      2. either:
        1. the Provider becomes insolvent or is otherwise unable to perform its obligations under and in accordance with this Agreement; or
        2.  the Agreement is due to expire or terminate within the next 20 Business Days, in circumstances where the Purchasing Agency does not intend to offer another agreement to the Provider relating to the [name of website or platform or service].
    2. The Provider will, with 5 Business Days of the Purchasing Agency’s written request, transfer the social media pages or accounts, and all rights it has to them and in content on them, to the Purchasing Agency or its nominated alternative service provider, to enable the Purchasing Agency or that service provider to continue the social media pages or accounts or to close them (with or without replacements).

If you’re a WordPress user whose line of work or study involves hierarchical numbering, you might be one of the many people who have wished there was an easy way to deploy hierarchical numbering in WordPress. Or perhaps you’ve managed to get this kind of numbering working on the front end but not in the WordPress editor or the Gravity Forms rich text paragraph field, resulting in an inconsistent user experience from content creation to publication.

The challenge of hierarchical numbering

WordPress users have long faced challenges in implementing hierarchical numbering in a manner that’s both visually consistent and functional across different editing environments. Achieving this form of numbering not only on the frontend but also within the classic editor, block editor, and the Gravity Forms rich text paragraph field has been a challenging task. Until now.

GM numbering: The solution

GM Numbering addresses these challenges by offering five levels of hierarchical numbering, within your WordPress and Gravity Forms environment. The plugin ensures that what you see onscreen when creating content or completing a form’s rich text paragraph field is what you get in your published output.

Key Features

  • Consistency across editors: Whether you’re using the classic or block editor, GM Numbering provides real-time hierarchical numbering (we recommend the classic editor though as nested ordered lists in the block editor can be a bit cumbersome).
  • Integration with Gravity Forms: For those utilising Gravity Forms to gather or create numbered content, this plugin extends its hierarchical numbering to the rich text paragraph field.
  • Frontend display: Perhaps most importantly, the plugin ensures that hierarchical numbering works as it should on the front end. So, for example, if you want your terms of service to use legal style numbering, that is now a breeze with GM Numbering.
  • Customisation potential: The plugin supports the numbering styles shown at the beginning of this post. While the first release of the plugin doesn’t offer a frontend interface for altering the numbering styles (to, for example, 1., 1.1, 1.1.1, etc), those with the technical know-how can adjust the CSS files to achieve that.

Credit where credit is due

GM Numbering is an adaptation of a customised version of the Tiered Legal List plugin, developed by UK-based Cubecolor. Cubecolor modified its Tiered Legal List plugin for the author of this post to support his preferred numbering styles and add support for the Gravity Forms rich text paragraph field. Since then we have modified some of the CSS and added support for the Gravity Forms HTML field and confirmation screen. And, as you can see, we call our version GM Numbering.

But wait, there’s more: use GM Numbering with GM HTML to DOCX to download your hierarchically numbered output as a properly formatted Word file

Let’s say you want to enable download of hierarchically numbered terms of use or the like as a docx file. Install GM HTML to DOCX as well, and you can do just that. GM HTML to DOCX supports hierarchical numbering in the downloaded docx file that you can make available by inserting a shortcode in the post or page you want to be downloadable.

In conclusion

Structured content is key to clear communication. With GM Numbering, WordPress users can now embrace hierarchical numbering with ease. By solving the longstanding challenge of hierarchical numbering, GM Numbering not only enhances the functionality of your WordPress install but can also elevate the quality of your content.

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