orderedlist options

In addition to controlling the spacing as described in the section “List spacing”, you have control over the list numbering style and starting number, as well as print format properties.

Different numbering style

The stylesheets support list numbering using arabic and roman numerals, as well as uppercase and lowercase letters. If all you want is the numbering style to change for nested orderedlist elements, then the stylesheet already handles that. It nests number styles automatically according to the following sequence:

1, 2, 3
  a, b, c
    i, ii, iii
      A, B, C
        I, II, III

If you want to specify a numbering style for a given orderedlist, then add a numeration attribute to the list as in the following example:

<orderedlist numeration="upperalpha">

The allowed values for the numeration attribute are as follows:


If you want to change the order in which these styles are used in nested numbered lists, you need to customize the template named next.numeration located in common/common.xsl. That template takes a numeration name as a parameter, and returns the value that should follow at the next level.

The FO stylesheet also supports the inheritnum="inherit" attribute on an orderedlist. When that attribute is added to an orderedlist that is nested inside another orderedlist, then the inner list's numbering will inherit the outer listitem's number as a prefix. The following example shows how the attribute is used:

  <listitem><para>First outer item.</para></listitem>
  <listitem><para>Second outer item.</para>
    <orderedlist inheritnum="inherit">
      <listitem><para>First inner item.</para></listitem>
      <listitem><para>Second inner item.</para></listitem>

This will result in the following print output:

1.  First outer item.
2.  Second outer item.
    2.a.  First inner item.
    2.b.  Second inner item.

This inherit feature does not work for HTML output, because there is no way to specify such a numbering style in HTML markup. It can be done with CSS, though.

Number continuation

When using orderedlists, there may be situations where you need to continue the numbering from one list to the next, with material intervening between them. The stylesheets support the use of the continuation="continues" attribute on the orderedlist element. When that attribute is added, that list will not start at number 1, but will instead continue from the end of the closest previous orderedlist in the document. The following example shows how to mark up your document:

  <listitem><para>First item in first list</para></listitem>
  <listitem><para>Second item in first list</para></listitem>
(other content)
<orderedlist continuation="continues">
  <listitem><para>First item in continued list</para></listitem>
  <listitem><para>Second item in continued list</para></listitem>

This will result in the following output:

1. First item in first list
2. Second item in first list
(other content)
3. First item in continued list
4. Second item in continued list

The continuation feature does work in HTML output as well.

List starting number

When using orderedlist, there may be situations where you need to manually set the starting number for a list. You can do that in two different ways:

  • With a start processing instruction added inside the orderedlist element, as in the following example:

      <?dbfo start="8"?><?dbhtml start="8"?>

    If you want consistent numbering in both print and HTML output, you need to add both dbfo and dbhtml processing instructions.

  • With an override attribute on the first listitem element, as in the following example:

      <listitem override="8">

    The stylesheet will number the first list item with 8 and continue from there for subsequent list items. This attribute will override a continuation="continues" attribute if there is one on the same list.

Starting in DocBook version 5, the orderedlist element accepts a startingnumber attribute to achieve the same purpose.

Print properties for orderedlist

For print output, the stylesheet provides a pair of attribute-sets that let you add formatting properties to orderedlist elements.

The orderedlist.properties attribute-set lets you set font properties and side margins for the whole list. It is applied to the fo:list-block that contains the output list. As such, its properties do not apply to the optional list title or other child elements before the first listitem.

The orderedlist.label.properties attribute-set lets you set font properties for the item number. This is useful if you want to change the font family, size or color of the number. The attribute-set is applied to each fo:list-item-label in the output list.